7. Gallery Crawl in the Cultural District: April 24
The best place to spring into art is at The Cultural Trust’s quarterly showcase of visual art, live music, performances, film screenings and hands-on activities. Did we mention it’s all free? Just hit the streets and look for the Cultural District Stop sidewalk signs identifying 30-plus participating venues.
What’s new downtown? Explore the vast cultural heritage of Jamaica at Tamara Natalie Madden’s exhibition, Out of Many, One People, opening at At 709 Penn. Step into the Sweetlix arcade at 820 Liberty to experience experimental games designed by local creators. Head to SPACE Gallery to see Unloaded, a group show that examines historical and social issues surrounding the availability, use and impact of guns in our culture. Programming includes a performance by award-winning Pittsburgh artist Vanessa German at 7 p.m., a screening of Chris Ivey’s In Unlivable Times and music by DJ SMI. Outside SPACE, check out the pop-up show by Easely, a Pittsburgh-based startup that rents ready-to-hang artwork to customers.
Katz Plaza will be a hotspot with Café con Leche’s Brisas del Caribe Caribbean celebration, featuring music and dance performances by Teanna Medina, Ibeji Ensemble, Latina Productions and Gena y Calle Bomba. Shop en plein air at the newly reopened Night Market located at the corner of 8th St. and Penn Ave. brimming with dozens of local independent vendors.
Celebrate Car Free Friday by walking, biking, hopping on the bus or carpooling to the Crawl.
8. Art All Night in Lawrenceville, April 25
In Lawrenceville, the last Saturday of April is synonymous with Art All Night. Staunchly unjuried and uncensored, the 24-hour art happening returns to Pittsburgh’s art and design hub for its 18th annual edition. What hatched in 1998 with 101 works of art and 200 all-nighters has now evolved into a cult showcase of 850-plus artists and some 8,000 attendees.
Transforming a sprawling warehouse at the corner of Willow and 40th St. into a showcase for both local art and community development, Art All Night features original artwork in every size, shape and genre imaginable, a hands-on children’s area, art auctions, participatory collaborative art-making and live music and performance. Embodying a populist aesthetic, the cornucopia includes work by veteran artists, senior citizens, long-term Lawrencevillians, youth, emerging artists, educators and students. And it’s always free to submit and attend.
Art All Night is heroically run by an all-volunteer committee, so if you’re inspired to help out, sign up here. Have artwork to show? Bring your piece to 97 40th St. between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. on Saturday, April 25 (artists must show a photo ID during both registration and pickup).
9. PERSAD’s Art for Change at the Wyndham Grand: April 27
Ready to enact change and find a conversation piece for that bare dining room wall? The best place to bid on work by internationally renowned artists such as Herb Ritts and Duane Michals and support a very worthy cause is at PERSAD‘s 27th annual Art for Change benefit. Some 1,000 art lovers are expected to flock to downtown’s Wyndham Grand, as the local creative community rallies to support PERSAD’s Free Card Fund. All proceeds from Art for Change will support the initiative, which serves the LGBTQ community and people living with HIV.
In addition to world-renowned photographers Herb Ritts and Duane Michals, the event’s impressive verbal and silent auctions will also feature art by Baron Batch, Robert Qualters, Nicole Kircher, Mark Perrott, Ashley Andrykovich, Dave Klug, Boris Bally, Ken Battista, among others. The vast selection of 150 works includes painting, photography, sculpture, furniture and jewelry—all donated by national and regional artists. While strolling the galleries, gala-goers will also enjoy delicious fare from top Pittsburgh restaurants including E2, Legume, Social at Bakery Square, The Commoner, Harris Grill and Mitchell’s Fish Market.
The night’s live auction will feature nearly 30 works of art, some likely to fetch up to $10,000. Silent auction pieces typically range from $50 to several thousand dollars. Also featured will be luxury gift baskets with vacation bundles, tickets to cultural events and autographed memorabilia. PERSAD’s goal for this year is $300,000, after raising $270,000 to support its Free Card Fund in 2014. VIP guests will enjoy a performances by Michele Benson and Max Leake, and members of Pittsburgh CAPA 6-12’s cast of Aida will perform at the launch of the night’s verbal auction.