Black Arts Action Committee

The Black Arts Action Committee is a paid council of Black leaders, arts professionals, and artists that serve as a resource and guide to create more equitable opportunities to advance the careers of Black artists and arts organizations in the region.

The committee meets independently to discuss the needs of the Black arts community and how the Arts Council and other partners can provide better resources. We're grateful for their involvement and support.

The Black Arts Action Committee is supported by the Arts, Equity, & Education Fund.

Header image: Charlie Parker's Yard Bird, photo by David Bachman Photography for Pittsburgh Opera

If you'd like to reach out to the committee or get involved, please email

Meet the Committee

Sarah Gilmer

Image of Sarah Gilmer smiling into the camera wearing a blazer

Sarah J. Gilmer is a strategist and programmer of arts experiences based in Pittsburgh. She worked as a Program Manager in strategic partnerships and community engagement at the Pittsburgh Cultural Trust, organizing events such as the Gallery Crawl in the Cultural District, and the BNY Mellon Presents JazzLive series for over four years. She obtained a Bachelor of Arts in economics from American University and a certificate in worship music from the Hillsong International Leadership College in Sydney, Australia.

Natiq Jalil: In Memoriam

Natiq Jalil smiling directly at the camera, wearing a gray hoody and black baseball hat.

Natiq Jalil was an emerging artist who specialized in watercolor, acrylics, and oils. He was a self-taught artist and believed true art begins during those moments between being asleep and being awake. Natiq's work is prized by many private collectors and can be seen in many homes and businesses on the East Coast and throughout the Midwest in the US, and around the world. He experienced success in both gallery settings and underground venues, such as RAW, MergeArts NYC, and Touchfaster.

Oronde Shariff

Oronde Shariff looking to the right, wearing a suit jacket and tie.

Oronde S. Shariff is a lecturer, curriculum coordinator, and Director of Undergraduate Studies for the University of Pittsburgh Department of Africana Studies. Much of Oronde's work and research focuses on dance including West African Dance, Afro-Caribbean Dance, Dunham Technique, African-American Dance.

Shori Sims

Shori Sims smiling at the camera, wearing an orange tshirt with a sun on it.

Shori Sims (they/them) was born in 1999 in Baltimore, Maryland and now works in Pittsburgh, PA attending Carnegie Mellon University. They are a lifelong artist and are currently pursuing her BFA with a minor in Africana Studies. Shori is a visual artist, writer and educator focusing on anti-racist and anti-oppression pedagogy. Currently, they work remotely with the Brooklyn Museum in New York City, assisting the education department as the museum's School Programs intern.

Jacquelin Walker

Jacquelin Walker looks into the camera, wearing a black and white patterned sweater.

Jacquelin Walker is a lawyer, producer, yoga instructor and advocate for equity in the arts and entertainment sectors. Her mission is to provide tools to increase agency for those marginalized by America's arts and cultural institutions. Walker uses her legal, creative and yoga practices to explore the possibilities of centering the care, concerns and visions of artists.

Trinity Spencer

An image of Trinity Spencer, a young black woman with black glasses and short black hair. She is smiling, with a blue collared shirt on.

Trinity Spencer is a multimedia artist born in Pittsburgh, PA. Trinity has loved art from a very early age and has made lots of progress over the years. She likes to incorporate a variety of colors in her artwork, making her work vibrant and eye-catching. Trinity likes to focus on realism by way of her portrait, landscape, and everyday item paintings. Trinity hopes to keep improving her skills and bringing joy to others with her work. 

Funding for the Black Arts Action Committee is provided by