King for a Day
King for a Day

Multiple locations
January 15
Various times

From the Northside to East Liberty, there are many ways to celebrate MLK Day in Pittsburgh as a family on Monday, January 15. Here are four special places where families can enjoy public celebrations and personal experiences while honoring the work and spirit of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr through art, music, writing and more.

Martin Luther King, Jr. Day Celebration at Children’s Museum of Pittsburgh, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Step up to the mic and read the inspiring words of Dr. King aloud at the podium during the annual “King for a Day” activity hosted by SLB Radio Productions in the museum’s lobby. Pop into the Art Studio to learn about “Freedom Corner” — the historic site at Centre and Crawford avenues which is a symbol of Pittsburgh’s Civil Rights Movement. Create collages using historic Civil Rights images and design your own picket sign to hold in front of a community mural. Tune in to SLB Radio’s live Streaming Justice webcast hosted by area teens who will explore civil rights accomplishments, challenges and dreams for the future.

Martin Luther King, Jr. Birthday Celebration at the Mattress Factory, noon to 4 p.m.

Typically closed on Mondays, the world-renowned contemporary museum is opening its doors to visitors of all ages. Collaborate on creating an “I Have A Dream” inspired city-scape, make thank-you cards for your own personal heroes, and have your face painted by Rikki. Dance to family jams with DJ Dave Zak, enjoy a slice of MLK birthday cake and experience the museum’s latest large-scale art installations.

Mattress Factory
Courtesy Mattress Factory.

East Liberty Celebrates MLK Day at the Kelly Strayhorn Theater, noon to 4 p.m.

This 10th annual celebration is packed with inspiring performances, conversations and creative activities designed to highlight MLK’s social justice work, show young people they can make a difference as community mobilizers and innovative artists, and honor the neighborhood’s diversity. Enjoy performances by 1Hood Media, Rickia Davenport and Dreams of Hope, and participate in hands-on activities with New Voices Pittsburgh, Braddock Library, Assemble and more. Visit the “#FUTUREMAKERS412 hashtag wall” co-presented with BOOM Concepts to share your 2018 commitments via text, pictures or videos.

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day Celebration at Union Project, 2 to 7 p.m.

Blending creativity and social justice, the 16th annual celebration will help attendees build interpersonal skills, solve problems together and build stronger, accepting communities. Kicking off with welcoming words from community members and Union Project leaders, the afternoon will feature small group activities and discussions. Attendees will compose prose inspired by Dr. King’s speeches, create clay portraits and use a variety of art supplies to contribute to a five-foot “fabric globe.” On view will be historical articles, songs, books and videos from the Civil Rights Movement. The day will culminate with reflection time and a shared community dinner.

See all events.

Jennifer BaronArts & Entertainment / Jobs Editor

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.