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Virtual Reality Experience Traveling While Black Now on Display

The area premier of Traveling While Black, a cinematic virtual reality experience that immerses viewers in the long history of restriction of movement for Black Americans and the creation of safe spaces in our communities, is now open for the public to experience. A 3D, 360-degree virtual reality documentary, Traveling While Black will be on view until Sunday, Sept. 24, 2023, at 820 Liberty Gallery, 820 Liberty Avenue, Pittsburgh Cultural District.

Academy Award winner Roger Ross Williams and Emmy Award-winning Felix & Paul Studios' film transports viewers to historic Ben's Chili Bowl restaurant in Washington, D.C. Viewers share an intimate series of moments with several of Ben's patrons as they reflect on their experiences of restricted movement and race relations in the United States.

Confronting the way we understand and talk about race in America, Traveling While Black highlights the urgent need to not only remember the past but to learn from it, and to facilitate a dialogue about the challenges minority travelers still face today.

Traveling While Black began in 2010 when Broadway and Executive Producer Bonnie Nelson Schwartz premiered a play called The Green Book at the Lincoln Theatre—next door to Ben’s Chili Bowl—the center of Washington, DC’s historic Black Broadway. It starred Julian Bond as Victor Green, creator of The Green Book, a guide for Black travelers during segregation. A wave of national attention followed the play and joined by Oscar-winning director Roger Ross Williams, the Traveling While Black project was born. The documentary first premiered in April 2019 during the Washington, DC International Film Festival; since then, the exhibition has launched a nationwide tour at museums and universities across the country.

The exhibition is free and open to the public, by on-site registration for timed-entry viewing. Gallery hours are Wednesday-Thursday, 11am-6pm; Friday-Saturday, 11am-8pm; and Sunday, 11am-5pm. For more information, visit the Pittsburgh Cultural Trust website or call 412-456-6666.

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