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The Top 50
2 through 16

2: Carol Brown

President, Pittsburgh Cultural Trust

Age: 65

Claim to fame: With a number of her more recent projects nearly complete, Brown’s vision for the Downtown Cultural District continues to become a reality. The riverfront park along the Allegheny and the O’Reilly Theater on Penn Avenue are almost done. Work recently began on a new plaza at Penn Avenue and 7th Street, and new lofts in the district are scheduled to open soon. If Brown, who has become synonymous with the Downtown arts scene, has any more ideas up her sleeve, they might be revealed in the five-year strategic plan now being developed by the Trust. This is her third year in the bridesmaid spot.
Last year: No. 2

3: James E. Rohr

President and chief operating officer, PNC Bank

Age: 50

Claim to fame: It’s not just baseball stadiums. PNC Bank’s interest in the arts is personified by Rohr, who chairs the Civic Light Opera board of directors and is vice chairman of the Pitts-burgh Cultural Trust board. During his eight years with the Trust, he has bent the ears of lawmakers and donors alike, co-chairing the Trust’s recent capital campaign, which raised $80 million, and now leading the Trust as it develops a five-year strategic plan. At the CLO since 1993, Rohr chaired the committee that chose Van Kaplan as the new director, and he professes a love for musical theater. Described as a "big picture" thinker interested in how the arts fit into the city as a whole, he sits on the board of the PNC Bank Foundation, which in 1998 gave $2.4 million to the arts.
Last year: Newcomer

4. Martin McGuinn

Chairman and chief executive officer, Mellon Bank Corp.; chairman, Historical Society of Western Pennsylvania

Age: 56

Claim to fame: As chairman of the board of the Historical Society, Marty McGuinn continues to provide help and guidance with fund-raising and other needs of the Senator John Heinz Pittsburgh Regional History Center. But if the anticipated sale to the May Co. of Mellon Bank’s headquarters building on Smithfield Street goes through, McGuinn also will have presided over the loss of one of the region’s grandest and most significant historic interiors. The May Co. plans to gut the Mellon interior and install a Lord & Taylor department store.
Last year: No. 1

5. Mariss Jansons

Music director, Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra

Age: 56

Claim to fame: Since taking over as top man of the Pittsburgh Symphony, Jansons has made a reputation for being as likable a human being as he is an accomplished musician. Audiences and orchestra members have taken to him, and he has gone into the local community to raise awareness of the orchestra and increase attendance for future seasons. He exudes a love for music that seems to affect everyone when he performs. This summer he will take the orchestra on tour to Europe.
Last year:  No. 8

6. Elsie and Henry Hillman and family

Homemaker, industrialist, joint philanthropists

Ages: 73, 80

Claim to fame: The Hillmans have set a standard of civic involvement that is unmatched in the city, except by their children, who are following in their footsteps. Henry and Elsie have long been active in the arts, with an emphasis on the Carnegie Museum, the Cultural Trust and the Pittsburgh Symphony. But they support a wide variety of local organizations with their personal money and through the Hillman Foundation, the Hillman Co. and the Henry L. Hillman Foundation. This year, the Hillmans endowed the Elsie and Henry Hillman Principal Pops Conductor Chair at the PSO with gifts that totaled $1.5 million. Of their children’s foundations, the most active in the arts are the Juliet Lea Simonds Foundation and the William Talbott Hillman Foundation, which gave grants to the Dia Foundation, the Carnegie and The Andy Warhol Museum, the Creative Non-Fiction Center, the Mattress Factory, Pittsburgh Filmmakers and the Three Rivers Lecture Series. Smaller grants to the arts have been made by the Audrey Hillman Fisher Foundation. The Hillmans give as generously of their time and are active on many boards, another tradition that is continuing. Lea Simonds is chair of the Andy Warhol board, and Audrey Fisher is involved in many social causes, opening her home to benefits and recently chairing the Pittsburgh Parks Conservancy Hat Luncheon.
Last year: No. 5

7. Rich Engler

Concert and festival promoter, booking agent

Age: 52

Claim to fame: When SFX Entertainment acquired DiCe-sare-Engler Productions last summer, Rich Engler, who founded the partnership with Pat DiCesare 25 years ago, stayed on to act as president and CEO, as well as executive director of the I.C. Light Amphitheatre. Regardless of ownership, DiCesare-Engler remains the city’s leading concert promoter, bringing everyone from Al Jarreau to Courtney Love to venues ranging from the I.C. Light Amphitheatre to Metropol to Three Rivers Stadium.

The company also stages a number of annual ethnic heritage festivals and works with Pace Music Group, also owned by SFX, to coordinate the acts who play the Coca-Cola Star Lake Amphitheatre. Under Engler’s stewardship, DiCesare-Engler completed a major renovation of the I.C. Light Amphitheatre, including a pavilion to cover no fewer than 4,000 seats. Engler is also in charge of securing the entertainment for the Shop ’n Save Three Rivers Regatta, which he owns with former partner DiCesare and the Anderson Group. "I’m a deal maker," Engler said. "That’s what I do."
Last year: No. 3 (with Pat DiCesare, who left to run his own production company)

8. Janet Sarbaugh

Program director for arts and culture, Heinz Endowments

Age: 47

Claim to fame: Backed by the unfailing support of Teresa Heinz, who was fourth on this list last year, Sarbaugh is finding success with the Small Arts Initiative, a program designed to aid low-budget arts groups that are often overlooked by contributors. In an effort to create accountability among larger arts groups that receive Heinz foundation money, Sarbaugh is overseeing the financial health of some big-budget organizations, giving guidance where necessary. In addition, Sarbaugh recently approved funding for a study of local attitudes about the arts, proving her continued interest in the Pittsburgh arts scene as a whole.
Last year: No. 12

9. Fred Rogers

Cultural icon

Age:  71

Claim to fame: After the big hurrah of 30 years on PBS in early 1998, Mister Rogers continued to produce new episodes of "Mister Rogers’ Neighbor-hood" ("Go, Stop, Go," about impulse control, airs the week of July 26) and claim additional honors, including induction into the Television Academy Hall of Fame. Rogers also took steps to protect the image of a kind and caring Neighbor by suing a company for copyright infringement after they made T-shirts with a picture of Mister Rogers holding a gun and saying, "Welcome to my ’hood."
Last year: No. 7

10. Thomas Sokolowski

Director, The Andy Warhol Museum

Age: 49

Claim to fame: In his three years at the museum, Sokolowski has now established his style. The museum is more open to the city with community and children’s programs as well as sending exhibitions around the world. In lieu of a new curator, Sokolowski has promised a scholar-in-residence.
Last year: Same

11. Bill Strickland

Founder and executive director, Manchester Craftsmen’s Guild;  president/CEO, Bidwell Training Center

Age: 51

Claim to fame: Strickland founded the MCG in 1966 to advance the academic and personal achievement of inner-city youth through photography, art, computer imaging and performing arts. It has become a model for other programs aimed at urban youth nationwide. Talks are under way to make a movie about Strickland and the MCG. The film, which will likely be filmed in Pittsburgh, has attracted musician Quincy Jones and screenwriter Robert Miller, the son of playwright Arthur Miller.
Last year: No. 21

12. Dawn Keezer

Director, Pittsburgh Film Office

Age: 34

Claim to fame: After a nerve-racking dry spell, Keezer’s office rebounded by luring "Dogma," "Inspector Gad-get," "The Temptations" and "Wonder Boys" to the city. Being elected chairwoman of Film U.S., a group designed to keep movie and TV business in this country, has raised her profile -- and her ranking -- considerably. She mingled with movers and shakers at the Sundance Film Festival and, in the ultimate act of cinematic chic, went to the Cannes Film Festival, where "Dogma," starring Ben Affleck and Matt Damon, debuted out of competition. She was among 100 guests at a private party, held on the beach (complete with red carpet, candles and roses) at Cannes, before the "Dogma" screening.
Last year: No. 25

13. Charlie Humphrey

Executive director, Pittsburgh Filmmakers

Age: 40

Claim to fame: Filmmakers continues to project a strong local and national presence, scheduling programming at their three art-film houses and offering classes that saw a record year for enrollment. They now own the Regent Square Theater and have secured it with a $50,000 new roof. Renovations continue on their 12,000-square-foot headquarters addition. Last fall, they hosted the prestigious National Alliance for Media Arts and Culture conference, and this year, Humphrey serves as national co-president of that organization. Community outreach and partnerships continue to grow in importance. Humphrey sits on seven boards ranging from the Andy Warhol Museum to the I Have a Dream Foundation.
Last year: No. 15

14. Gideon Toeplitz

Executive vice president and managing director, Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra

Age: 54

Claim to fame: With Mariss Jansons taking over as the orchestra’s new music director, Toeplitz effected a smooth transition and has kept the orchestra in top financial shape. With his streamlined management techniques, in part based on the Japanese concept called Hoshin, he has led a capital campaign that has the symphony’s endowment close to the $119 million mark, one of the highest among American orchestras today.
Last year: No. 20

15. Eddie Gilbert

Artistic director, Pittsburgh Public Theater

Age: 61

Claim to fame: Pittsburgh’s top professional theater company has had a competent if uninspired year (with the best box office reserved for the remounting of August Wilson’s "Fences"), but it’s been purposefully marking time: This fall, Gilbert leads his troops into the O’Reilly Theater, its new $20 million Downtown home, designed primarily to fit Gilbert’s specifications. And the first year in the O’Reilly promises two world premieres, a slam-bang finish to Gilbert’s tenure, since he’s announced he’s leaving the job a year from now.
Last year No. 14

16. Marc Masterson

Producing director, City Theatre

Age: 43

Claim to fame: Pittsburgh’s No. 2 theater has been behaving like No. 1. Masterson has overseen physical expansion (a fourth building, to house rehearsal space and scene shop), artistic expansion (a major commitment to commission new plays), increased fostering of small groups (through its Hamburg Partners Project), fund-raising (to pay for all of the above) and box-office growth (several hits have filled his expanded seating capacity).
Last year: No. 23

MORE TOP 50 -- 17 to 33

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