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

Upcoming Events

The quarterly artist led event series will be a time to gather and create space for discussion through various topics between active members in our Black arts community. Topics of each conversation in the series are those that stand to amplify the voices of community and culture that are commonly ignored. Nafasi presents the opportunity for the unearthing of ideas on identity and living as a Black Creative in various social cultures and has created a safe space to build community together.
Join us for the first installment, Connecting Community through Public Art. This first conversation will focus on the ways in which Artists and Cultural Workers build community together using Public Art as the tool to do so.

Conversation leaders on the panel include:

Kendra Ross, Ph.D, Act3 Consulting
Justin Laing, Hillombo LLC
Njaimeh Njie
James “YaYa’’ Hough
Camerin “Camo” Nesbit
Tickets are $10 per person. Appetizers, drinks, and cookies will be provided.

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!