Today, Brew House is your destination for Arts in the South Side, but it wasn’t always that way. Find out more about our history below:

– The Duquesne Brewing Company, built in 1899, was one of the top ten largest breweries in the US in the 1940’s, and was a major brewery in Pittsburgh until it eventually closed 1972.

1980s – 1992 – After the Duquesne Brewery shut down, artists began living and working in the building. In 1986, Richard Bernstein (Bernstein Group) purchased the building with plans to convert it into apartments and offices, but plans for renovation fell through. Under pressure to bring the building up to code, Bernstein tried to evict artist tenants, but the tenants organized, sought legal help, and received permits to stay. Acting as the Brew House Association (BHA), these artists begin converting the space into a livable apartments and exhibition spaces. 

1993 – After ownership of the building lapsed due to non-payment of taxes, The Brew House Association established itself as a 501c3 and purchased the building, setting the stage for Brew House’s future as a hub for creativity led by the vision and grassroots efforts of local artists. 

1995 – BHA opened Space 101, a regional exhibition and performance space. Space 101 became the home of Prospectus Annual Exhibits and the Featured Artists Series giving local artists such as Lindsay Landfried, Adam Chriscuolo, Zach Dorn, Murphy Cook, and Theo Keller a unique opportunity in Pittsburgh. Space 101 was a unique space that contributed to the overall creative strength of the neighborhood and region.

1999 – BHA began hosting the annual Black Sheep Puppet Festival that engaged thousands of participants from the Pittsburgh area. The Festival was a multi-dimensional performance that lasted over two weeks and included children’s workshops, film screenings, gallery exhibitions, and live performances.

Read more about the Black Sheep Puppet Festival history:
Brew House toasts Black Sheep Puppet Festival – Trib Live, October 12, 2006
Black Sheep Puppet Festival celebrates its 10th season. – Pittsburgh City Paper, October 23, 2008

2001 – BHA offered innovative programming that supported local artists and engaged the community. Collaborations with organizations such as the Homeschools Initiative provided supplemental art education to children. Additionally, the afterschool partnership with the Brashear Association gave residents of Brew House the opportunity to provide instruction to participants in their own studios. All of this innovation took place while BHA managed the building. Managing the large, historical building proved to be a challenge for the small organization.

2006 – BHA launched the Distillery program, a mentorship program for emerging artists, culminating with an exhibition in Space 101. The first Distillery exhibition, Higher Proof, featured work by Morgan Cahn, Anne Angyal, Adam Grossi, Nicholas Hohman, Jeremy Radtke and Carolyn Wenning.

2014 – The building began renovations in partnership with TREK development, in order to reconfigure the structure to include 75 residential units, from studios to two-bedroom apartments.

2017BHA reopened its doors to feature the exhibition, Homecoming: Artists and Adaptation, in its newly renovated 2,700 sq. ft. gallery and to welcome in the eighth cohort of Distillery Emerging Artists-in-Residence. Artist Carin Mincemoyer’s “Dandelions” were permanently installed in front of the building. A “pioneer” species, dandelions grow where others cannot, loosening the soil and paving the way for others to be able to thrive.

2018  – BHA hired Natalie Sweet as Program Director, who launched the Prospectus Program, a new program designed to support the vital role of curators in the arts ecosystem, modeled after the existing Distillery Residency. The inaugural season of Prospectus included back to back shows in early 2019: The Self, Realized: Queering the Art of Self Portraiture, curated by Hannah Turpin and This is Not Romantic, curated by Dana Bishop-Root. Stephanie Garrison was also hired as Operations Director. 

2022 – After four years leading the organization, Natalie Sweet was promoted to Executive Director, and launched our new Strategic Plan, to give direction to our organization for the next three years. We also expanded our team by hiring Brent Nakamoto as Program and Marketing Coordinator.

2023 – On the celebration of our 30th anniversary of incorporating as a non-profit, we’re rebranding as Brew House Arts. Even though we’re changing our name, we’re still committed to bringing you programs and exhibitions that bring people together, support new perspectives, and show the power of what art can do.


Is Brew House a part of your history? We want to hear from you.

The work that we do now at Brew House has been made possible by all of the artists and community members who came before us. We’re working to expand our historical archives, but we need your help to do it. If you have any stories you would like to share, please send us an email at info@brewhousearts.org.


Take a look through our archives:

Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, May 2, 1993










Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, April 23, 2001