Arcade Academy

Diversity Scholarship

2022 Scholarship applications open November 24

Arcade Diversity Scholarship
in honor of Terrence W. Black

About the scholarship

We believe that the best comedy reflects the diverse world in which it is presented, and we are dedicated to making our stages representative of our community. The Arcade Diversity Scholarship, founded in honor of Terrence W. Black through the generous support of his son and with continuing funding from student and audience donations, provides an opportunity for underrepresented voices in Pittsburgh to learn, practice, and perform comedy on the Arcade stage.

Scholarship recipients on the Improv Track are awarded a complete education in improv comedy with 5 classes from Arcade’s core curriculum. Recipients on the Stand-Up/Writing Track are awarded 3 classes of their choosing from the disciplines of Stand Up, Writing, and Improv, and may take the same class multiple times should they wish. Additionally, all scholarship recipients will receive mentorship from Arcade instructors and performance opportunities. At least one scholarship will be granted in each track for the 2022 award year.

Throughout the student’s time in classes, they will learn lessons that build confidence in public speaking, collaboration, and creative expression — all while being immersed in Arcade’s community of performing artists. The goal is to train a new generation of comedic artists that will work and play in Pittsburgh as part of Arcade Comedy Theater’s premier comedy institution.

Who is this scholarship for?

The Arcade Diversity Scholarship serves those that identify as Black, Indigenous, or a Person of Color; LGBTQIA+; or belong to underrepresented groups that may not have access to invest in a comedy education. You must be 18 years or older to enroll in Arcade Academy classes.

We’re here to help:

If you are interested in learning more about our Diversity Scholarship, or would like to be updated when the next round of applications opens, please contact Abby Fudor, Managing Artistic Director at

Learn more about Arcade’s improv classes here.

Scholarship Application

Important Dates:

  • November 24: Application period opens
  • December 8: Application period closes
  • December 10: Applicants selected for interviews notified
  • December 14: Interviews with Scholarship Committee
  • December 17: Scholarship Recipients Notified
  • January 10: Session 1 of 2022 classes begins



Arcade is currently in the midst of rebuilding its operational capacity after being closed for 18-months due to the pandemic, which may result in delays or last-minute changes in consideration of ongoing public health and safety. We appreciate our community’s support and understanding as we work toward being fully operational once again.

Mission Statement on Inclusion

Arcade Comedy Theater believes that the best comedy reflects the diverse world in which it is presented. We are committed to providing a safe, supportive, and welcoming environment to all artists, staff, and audience members who come through our doors. Arcade will take an active role to ensure equitable practices and remedy when there are disparities in our values. We understand that inclusion is a journey, and that while we work to do good today, we must also work to do better tomorrow.

If you have any questions about our mission of inclusion, please contact Abby Fudor, Managing Artistic Director.

Through the support of PACE & the Arts Equity Reimagined grant, Arcade Academy instructors as well as the organization’s staff, board members, and artistic leaders will participate in DEI-focused training from Flanders Consulting throughout 2022.

The application process: 

  1. Complete the application form
  2. All applications are reviewed by our committee
  3. Candidates selected for an interview by the announced deadline
  4. Interviews with committee members will occur at a predetermined time
  5. Scholarship recipient(s) will be announced and begin taking classes starting with the closest upcoming session

Our Scholarship Committee

  • Abby Fudor, Managing Artistic Director
  • Robin Hitchcock, Academy Director
  • Nia Johnson, Manager of New Programming
  • In addition to the above Arcade personnel, the application review committee and interview committee includes a group of dedicated volunteers who are artists, educators, and leaders in their fields that reflect the communities to which this scholarship is directed

“My father was not an artist, but he took pride in supporting the arts; while my mother devoted her retirement to creating art, he devoted his retirement to being a patron of the arts. I honor his legacy by supporting emerging comedic artists. The importance of cultivating diverse voices is unambiguous in my professional work in tech. Diverse perspectives lead to better outcomes. An inclusive environment requires intent, commitment, and investment; with my hope channeled to enable each through this scholarship.”

— Tom Black, Arcade donor

First Class of Scholarship Recipients

Beverly Conrique

Karyme Garzón Mahmud

Montaja Simmons

Kalyani Singh

I’ve always believed in the arts as a way to explore the self and our place in society, feel joy, be creative and innovative, build community, and overall become better people individually and alongside others.
No matter how much I had going on, going to class was always a place I could pause, belly-laugh, and co-create with some of the kindest and funniest people I’ve ever met….I’ve also really enjoyed learning about improv. Improv philosophy honestly has so many nuggets of wisdom that are just as applicable to life as they are to improv comedy. I feel that it has made me both a better improviser and person, which I am constantly grateful for.
Now, almost a year later, I’ve started to integrate what I’m constantly learning through Arcade into my ongoing research thanks to a small Pitt Year of Creativity research grant to promote constructive intergroup dialogues between U.S. political partisans
Beverly Conrique

2019 Diversity Scholarship Recipient

I wanted to find a new creative outlet, get back on stage, and find a collaborative art form that would help me improve my ESL skills and also deal with anxiety… I’ve always loved laughing and making others laugh and thought that comedy as an artistic pursuit would be the best combo!
I love that [classes] are such a safe space for expression and making mistakes … I was anxious before starting improv classes but honestly, my favorite part is that nobody cares how you do comedy as long as you take care of one another, and I love that.
Karyme Garzón Mahmud

2019 Diversity Scholarship Recipient