Watch CBS News

August Wilson House grand opening draws family, community members, and supporters

August Wilson House grand opening draws family, community members, and supporters
August Wilson House grand opening draws family, community members, and supporters 02:36

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) -- The doors are now open at the August Wilson House in the Hill District.

After years of work were spent renovating the childhood home of Pittsburgh's own Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright, it was finally showtime -- and even Denzel Washington even made an appearance.

The August Wilson House is now open and ready for future Pittsburgh artists.

"This is a happy day," said Constanza Romero Wilson, Executive Director of the August Wilson Legacy, LLC. "It's been time long coming but I just feel so privileged and so grateful that August's home, ancestral home where he grew up is being marked here in the Hill."

It's taken well over a decade to restore the home and make it a place of honor and pride in the Hill District.

"It was an old building, looked like it was going to be torn down. For them to restore it and create this whole venue it just wow! It's history," said Charles Timbers, Jr., an actor and Hill District resident.

The home will be used as a center for the arts where young artists can learn their craft.

Inside, the walls are decorated with images and moments that speak to August Wilson's artistic legacy. His nephew, Paul Ellis, has been the driving force behind much of the work.

"It was designed to be consistent with his expectations and wishes and what would be best, most beneficial to the people," Ellis said.

"It's a vital legacy and I think this house is a representation of what he was and what he represented as I said to the people of Pittsburgh and more specifically the Hill District," said actor Russell Hornsby.

There have been numerous supporters of the project, most notably including actor Denzel Washington. He has championed Wilson's work and was impressed with the transformation of the home.

 ""I also say without commitment you'll never start but more importantly, without consistency you'll never finish," Washington said. "You have proven that you are consistent. And you've crossed the line in great shape. This looks absolutely beautiful. More than I imagined."

Wilson's family members say this is what he wanted -- a place where artists can thrive without hindrances.

Washington says after he learned about the project, he approached a number of Hollywood celebrities who also contributed, including Tyler Perry, Samuel L. Jackson, and Oprah Winfrey. 

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.