April is blooming with things to do on terra firma and on the water, in cars and on boats, on stages and runways, and in our neighborhoods and outdoors. And to the adventure-seekers and movie lovers who weren’t lucky enough to snag tickets to the sold-out Banff Centre Mountain Film Festival, have no fear, we have other ways to celebrate the planet and cinema.

Be sure to visit each organization’s website and social media for Covid guidelines.

Car Bazaar
Car Bazaar. Photo by Colten Gill for the Pittsburgh Downtown Partnership.

1. Car Bazaar at the Forbes & Smithfield Parking Garage: April 2

Why drive from house to house searching for deals when you can attend the ultimate garage sale in one central location? Rebooting England’s tradition of selling goods from car trunks, this multi-level open-air market is back. While taking in spectacular rooftop views, shoppers can pursue wares from 100 vendors, makers, retailers and artists. New this year is a dedicated record dealer section curated by J. Malls of Title Town Soul & Funk Party. The Speckled Egg will be on hand to serve up MTO brunch goodies (think: French toast sticks!) and craft cocktails, while The Pickled Chef will sling gourmet grilled cheese sammies. Opening day features live music by The Evergreens and Miss Freddye. Located at 400 Cherry Way, the Car Bazaar operates Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. through September. 

Pittsburgh Opera
Photo courtesy of the Pittsburgh Opera.

2. Diva Dreams and Fashion Queens at the Bitz Opera Factory: April 4

Pittsburgh Opera is here to rescue you from a case of the Mondays. Why sulk at home when you can be surrounded by an entire century of haute couture? To rock the runway at its chic Strip District HQ, the Opera is teaming up with Eons — owned by legendary Pittsburgh fashion maven Richard Parsakian — which specializes in authentic vintage clothing and accessories. The diverse retrospective will spotlight timeless looks from Halston, Karl Lagerfeld, Ceil Chapman, Thierry Mugler, Claire McCardell, and others. Studio Booth will provide hair styling and makeup. Even the signature cocktail is designed to dazzle: Quantum Spirits and Mindful Hospitality Group are crafting The Icon, a winning combo of whiskey, mango, coconut, allspice, tea, and lime. Buy tickets.

Contemporary Craft
Photo courtesy of Contemporary Craft.

3. Out of Hand at Contemporary Craft: April 9

If you have yet to visit Contemporary Craft’s fabulous new Butler Street HQ, this is the perfect night to do so. It’s the first major event at the organization’s new 13,000 square-foot home in Lawrenceville, and it will help support free community events and educational programs. Get out of hand, and hands-on, as you make your own fibula pin, watch art demonstrations and enjoy music by Soy Sos. With hundreds of one-of-a-kind art objects and experiences, this is one auction you don’t want to miss (get a speak peek). Running from 7 to 10:30 p.m., the craftacular also serves as the release party for a new Knotzland product line. Be the first to see limited-edition bowties and lavallières made from fabrics printed by Contemporary Craft’s new Executive Director Rachael Saul Rearick. Ready to create and conserve? Upcycle your paper invitation into a wearable accessory for the event using these inspiring video tutorials. Buy tickets.

Photo by John Colombo
Ecolution Fashion Show. Photo by John Colombo.

4. Pittsburgh Earth Day Ecolution Fashion Show at Carnegie Museum of Art: April 13

Did you know that the fashion industry is the planet’s fourth-biggest polluter? Designing locally and thinking globally, one of Pittsburgh’s most unique fashion shows aims to address the climate crisis by merging haute couture with thoughtful design. To illuminate this year’s theme of “Earth Matters Now: For The World We Dream Of & The World We Have Now,” 20 artists transformed sustainable, recyclable and organic materials into “stellar environmentally savvy ensembles.” From 8 to 10 p.m., fashionistas will be treated to dance performances by slowdanger and Stacyee Pearl, tunes from DJ Soy Sos and entertainment by Miss Thea Trix. Buy tickets.

Photo courtesy of Tara Geyer / August Wilson African American Cultural Center.

5. August Wilson: The Writer’s Landscape at the August Wilson African American Cultural Center: April 16

We can imagine no better place for the first-ever permanent exhibition dedicated to Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright and Hill District native August Wilson. It’s an unprecedented opportunity to be immersed in Wilson’s vision and see firsthand how the playwright “drew his greatest inspiration from the city and its people.” The 3,600-square-foot exhibit features interactive displays, projected images, artifacts from Wilson’s estate, and re-creations of ephemera spanning 100 years. Take a seat in the Hill District coffee shop that inspired Wilson’s characters and stories. Step into a replica of Wilson’s home office showcasing his manuscripts, record collection and beloved 1920s writing desk. Check out original objects featured in Wilson’s Broadway productions, including a 1956 Rock Ola 1448 jukebox, 1940s RCA Radio and prop masks. And take a symbolic walk through his iconic 10-play American Century Cycle. Augmenting the exhibit are audio recordings performed by award-winning actors such as Ruben Santiago-Hudson and Phylicia Rashad. Free timed tickets will be available April 11.

Gallery Crawl
Reloading the Real at Wood Street Galleries. Photo courtesy of Cinzia Campolese.

6. Gallery Crawl in the Cultural District: April 22

The Pittsburgh Art Bus rolls back into town. Crawl After Dark ignites the city’s nightlife scene. An Artist Talk and Walk series debuts. It’s all on tap when the spring edition of the Gallery Crawl animates the 14-block Cultural District from 5:30 p.m. to midnight. Not to miss at the Trust Oasis is a one-night-only, multi-spectacle pop-up featuring the Pittsburgh Art Bus. Watch Ashley Hodder paint the Art Bus as local artists perform. Featured Crawl stops include Simply Devine, a retrospective honoring the talent and life of artist Danny Devine at 820 Gallery, and The Village youth performance space at The Trust Arts Education Center. Crawl-goers can join an Artist Talk and Walk event with DS Kinsel, who will discuss his exhibition BRAIN BONE BLOOD at 707 Gallery, and Fran Flaherty, who’s featured in the new Deaf Brown American Mom exhibition at SPACE Gallery. Stay late for the Crawl After Dark Silent Disco featuring beats and grooves by DJs Inception, Asthetics and Buscrates. Did we mention it’s all free?

Jennifer has worked at the Mattress Factory, Brooklyn Museum of Art and Dahesh Museum of Art and is co-author of Pittsburgh Signs Project: 250 Signs of Western Pennsylvania. She also is co-coordinator of Handmade Arcade. Musically, she is in a band called The Garment District and is a founding member of Brooklyn's The Ladybug Transistor.