A Collaboration Between the Hill CDC and #ARTSINHD

Nafasi on Centre is a community development initiative utilizing art as the vehicle and is a partnership between the Hill CDC and #ArtsinHD, an action planning group, and a subcommittee of the Hill District Consensus Group. More specifically, Nafasi, which means “space” and "opportunity" in Swahili, is the first substantial project to emerge from the Hill District Arts Plan and is a cultural strategy to meet the 5 goals of the Greater Hill District's Master Plan, which aims to: (1) Build Upon the African American Cultural Legacy, (2) Family Friendly Housing Development Without Displacement, (3) Economic Empowerment & Community Development, (4) Make the Hill a Green and Well-Designed Community, and (5) Mobility, Transportation, and Parking.

Nafasi on Centre will consist of artist work-space in the basement, a cafe/gallery on the first floor, and four 1-bedroom apartments and two micro lofts, spread across the second and third floors.  The residency and space at Nafasi on Centre will be programmed and overseen by the Hill CDC, in partnership with #ArtsinHD. 

Nafasi Private Event Rentals

Download Rental Application Here



The Hill CDC would like to announce that the 2nd Nafasi On Centre Artist Residency Application is now open to the public. Nafasi On Centre is a community development initiative that utilizes art as a vehicle for economic growth. This artist live/workspace includes a two-year residency for emerging, mid-career, and established artists, acting as a gallery, and also features a basement studio space. Nafasi, which means “space” and "opportunity" in Swahili, is the first substantial project to emerge from the Hill District Arts Plan and is a cultural strategy to meet the 5 goals of the Greater Hill District's Master Plan, which aims to: (1) Build Upon the African American Cultural Legacy, (2) Family Friendly Housing Development Without Displacement, (3) Economic Empowerment & Community Development, (4) Make the Hill a Green and Well-Designed Community, and (5) Mobility, Transportation, and Parking. As a partnership between the Hill CDC and #ArtsInHD, an action planning group/subcommittee of the Hill District Consensus Group, the goal of the residency is to transform each artist’s creative practice into a creative enterprise by developing their talents in different areas such as, Exhibition, Entrepreneurship, and Branding among other skills.

Fill Out Application Here


Previous Events


The Hill CDC is proud to announce the return of one of Nafasi on Centre's most attended events from the previous year, The Nafasi Art Market.

Nafasi on Centre, which is an initiative of the Hill CDC and ArtsinHD, aims to serve its resident artists as well as the broader arts community through varying professional development opportunities and various creative exhibitions.

In that service to the broader community, the Nafasi Art Market was born. Complete with entertainment, food, and fun for the entire family, the Art Market is slated to include art exhibitions and performances from featured local artists, in addition to services from renowned vendors looking to sell their own art, expertise, or delicious foods for all to enjoy!

This event will take place Saturday August 13th from noon until 5:00PM , and will be located at Nafasi on Centre at 2145 Centre Avenue in Pittsburgh, PA, and in its adjacent green space. We're excited to host our neighbors and show you all the amazing things that our community's creatives have to offer.

Register Now:



As a part of the 58th Carnegie International, Pittsburgh-born and current Nafasi on Centre resident artist James "Yaya" Hough (b. 1974) will paint a mural in Pittsburgh's historic Hill District, the cultural and artistic hub where Hough was born.

Hough, in collaboration with the Carnegie Museum of Art and Nafasi, a community development initiative in the Hill District that utilizes art as a vehicle, has also been holding community workshops in the lead-up to the mural unveiling, which will take place later this year. This project expands on and continues upon Yaya's legacy of making art public to create common imaginaries.

We are so excited to share that this family-friendly event took place in our community. Guests were able to enjoy and become a part of a 2-day Paint Party, which will include free food, music by Pittsburgh-based performer Shade Cobain, as well as fun painting activities, sidewalk chalk art, and more!

2145 Centre Ave June 25th and 26th, 2022.


On Friday, May 27th, 2022, Nafasi's Gallery on center joined with Blaqk House for a night filled with art and great company. "Nafasi by Blaqk House Collections" was an interactive experience hosted from 5PM-7PM highlighting the work of resident artist, Cynthia Kenderson, among others! We are so glad that our Hill District family was able to join us for what was an awesome event! Light refreshments were served.

Friday, May 27, 2022 5:00pm
2145 Centre Ave Pittsburgh, PA ,15219

To celebrate Construction Inclusion Week this year, Turner Construction is partnering with the Hill CDC to do a Youth Winter Clothing Giveaway. 
Saturday, November 6th | 11:00 AM - 3:00 PM
Nafasi on Centre | 2145 Centre Avenue

In Collaboration with the Carnegie Museum of Art, Nafasi Resident Artist James YaYa Hough hosted a series of community forums and art making workshops at Nafasi on Centre. YaYa has been commissioned to create a mural that will be located in the Hill District as a part of the Carnegie 58th International. The Carnegie International is the longest running international arts exhibition in North America consisting of works by various emerging and established artists. Led by YaYa, Hill District residents and families along with members of the curatorial team engaged in storytelling and other activities that will creatively help shape the final narrative for the mural project. YaYa concluded the three workshops by leading everyone in a community art making session. Attendees of the workshop were given watercolor paints, colored pencils, and vibrant oil pastels to create their own unique stories.  The project is anticipated to be at installation phase in the spring of 2022. YaYa and the International’s Curatorial Team will host additional workshops located at the museum and will announce the dates soon.




Join Nafasi's Resident Artists for Saturday Brunch and discover new works of art for your collection!
This monthly event kicks off Saturday, October 30th from 12:00 - 3:00 PM with a showcase of new art for sale in our gallery, along with a fantastic brunch provided by Chef Dee, owner of Plates Catering available for purchase separately!
Each of Nafasi's Resident Artists will be in attendance for an opportunity to meet with you and talk in depth about their work and experiences gained through their creative practice!
Ticket sales end October 29th!
Tickets are $10 per person and include 2 mimosas

Register Here

Art For Sale


Nafasi in the News !!


Check out the articles below to recap the debut!

Thank you to our Community for your support and those who joined us in person and via Live Stream for Nafasi's Ribbon Cutting Ceremony ! 

Thank you to the Nafasi Scope Steering Committee:
Marimba Milliones, President & CEO
Felicity Williams, Esq., Programs & Policy Manager
Jordan Smith, Programs & Policy Coordinator
David Serbin, Real Estate & Development Manager
Kendra Ross, #ArtsinHD Co-Chair
Justin Laing, #ArtsinHD Co-Chair
Samantha Black, #ArtsinHD
Norman Brown, #ArtsinHD
Diamonte Walker, Deputy Director URA and #ArtsinHD

Thank you to our Funders:
Heinz Endowments
Opportunity Fund

Thank you to Joshua Pollard, owner of 2145 Centre Avenue and Dollar Bank who financed the rehabilitation

Thank you to our Sponsors:
First National Bank
Macedonia Church of Pittsburgh




Nafasi Residency Program General Description

The Nafasi residency is a 2-year program, designed to help six (6) artists transition into a sustainable artistic or creative practice, by supporting them with mentorship, studio practice, business development and management, and, of course, community engagement throughout the length of the residency.
Nafasi’s mission is to support Black arts and culture by creating the space and opportunities for Hill District artists and creatives to learn and flourish in an affordable environment. This program focuses on inspiring participants to embrace new challenges in understanding and presenting their work while connecting to a quickly evolving and supportive community.  Artists will have opportunities to generate revenue as we exhibit some of their work or showcase their talent through events held in the Nafasi Gallery, which is located on the first floor of Nafasi On Centre.
Additionally, each artist will attend professional development sessions to introduce the necessary skills to make a successful transition. These workshops will include: partnering with guest speakers and industry leaders who will give best practices on essential entrepreneurship skills for artists including, Branding & Marketing, Business Finances and Sales, Online and Social Media Visibility, Grant writing, Public Art Projects, and More!

PowerPoint from Nafasi on Centre Program and Application Information Session Wednesday, August 19th, 2020 


Nafasi is targeted towards Hill District artists.  Hill District artists are defined as those who live in the Hill District, have lived or worked in the Hill District, or have very strong ties to the Hill District. We are hopeful to fill the residency based on our initial intention. If we do not have enough artists to fill our requirements, then we will open the residency to the broader community.  Applicants must be based within the Pittsburgh region. Applicants should be able to make a 2-year commitment to the program.

Applications will be reviewed by a panel of individuals from #ArtsInHD and the Hill CDC. Areas that will be considered include quality of work, the potential impact of the program on their studio practice and artistic career, and demonstrated interest and experience in collaborating with other artists and community, specifically as it relates to the goals of the Greater Hill District Master Plan.


We are looking for operators for the Carousel Cafe on the first floor of Nafasi! Fill out an interest form by clicking on the button below.

Nafasi on Centre Cafe Operator Interest Form


Send any questions to Jordan Smith, Programs and Policy Coordinator at 412-765-1820 or jsmith [at] ()

This program is brought to you in partnership with the Heinz Endowments and #ArtsInHD, a committee of the Hill District Consensus Group!