This year StepTrek is partnering with Steppin Stanzas, a new performance arts project created to promote the use of Pittsburgh’s public steps and celebrate the city’s rich heritage, its diversity, and distinctive geography.


Steppin Stanzas co-founders and lead artists Paola Corso, a poet and literary activist, and Andrew Edwards, a poet and performance artist/translator will launch their project by creating original work inspired by city steps and performed along a StepTrek route this year.


“Along with its three rivers, Pittsburgh’s hills and the stairs that traverse them are one of the most unique, recognizable, and defining characteristics of our city, “says Corso. “Steppin Stanzas brings art to a new venue that few other cities could offer.”


“We intend to use art and spoken word performances to draw attention to city steps and challenge the audience to see them in a new way,” Edwards added.


Steppin Stanzas artists will perform poetry with music and movement at the registration area and during water breaks.


“The South Side Slopes Neighborhood Association will provide the water. Steppin Stanzas will provide the words to help refuel trekkers as they finish the last leg of the two courses. They will already have climbed more than a thousand steps. We’ll cheer them on as they catch their breath and carry on,” Corso said.


Corso is the author of six books of fiction and poetry set in her native Pittsburgh, most recently The Laundress Catches Her Breath, winner of the Tillie Olsen Award for Creative Writing from the Working Class Studies Association, and Edwards, who studied Spanish and creative writing at Ohio Wesleyan University with a focus in modern poetics, is the author of The Kobe Reality Series, a book of poetry based on his experience living in Japan.


Corso and Edwards will collaborate with guest artists Aaron LeFebvre, an acoustic finger-style guitarist combining traditional and folk with modern sounds, and movement artist Daniel Dongilli for their Steppin Stanzas launch, which was awarded a Sprout Fund grant.

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