Garden Party

Mattress Factory Museum

June 19
7 – 11 p.m.

One year they built a half-pipe in the middle of the dance floor. Another year it was a mechanical bull. And how could we ever forget the night models performed in a tub of milk. What’s in store for the much buzzed about Urban Garden Party this year?

Courtesy of the Mattress Factory.

This Friday night, the anything-goes benefit bash salutes the 13th letter of the alphabet. Read: calling all magicians, mermaids, mice, monsters and martians to the Mattress Factory for a magical evening of music and mayhem. Dubbed “M is for Mattress Factory,” the summer shindig boasts a Michael Jackson tribute, magic show by Baffling Bob, Selfie Studios photo booth and more.

Always a highlight is the event’s creative twist on the ubiquitous auction. This year, 25 artists will make one-of-a-kind works using mirrors, and the resulting pieces are sure to generate awe and stir conversation.

Featured performers for this year’s M-themed installment include indie rock band Meeting of Important People, comedian Mike Travers, salsa ensemble Machete Kisumontao, DJs Mad Maxx and Orquidea and Tierra Darshell’s Divas of Drag.

The weekend of the summer solstice seems an ideal time night for this anything-goes event to unfold. As a nonprofit fundraiser the Garden Party is staunchly boundary smashing in terms of the eclectic and diverse crowd it draws each year—you and 1,400 other art lovers—who commune for an night of multi-sensory entertainment, open bars and local eats from a staggering lineup of 40-plus food purveyors (pro tip: don’t show up late).

Courtesy of the Mattress Factory.

Walking into the room-sized installations at the Mattress Factory is akin to stepping into other realms, and the same can be said for its signature fundraiser, a place for both being seen and setting the scene. When planning one of summers—and all of Pittsburgh’s—best parties, the Garden Party elves apply the same sense of creative abandon that the museum’s curators do when selecting pioneering artists. Equal parts over-the-top and homegrown, the event brings in a ton of financial support for the museum’s world-renowned artist residencies and educational programs.

Urban Garden Party invitation.

VIP ticket holders will be treated to an exclusive pre-party starting at 6 p.m. hosted by Bob Sendall of All in Good Taste along with special entertainment and access to a private lounge, courtyard and bar. Event chairs this year are Lisa Cibik and Bernie Kobosky.

Keep the festivities going at the “M is for Mattress Factory After Party” taking place at nearby Penn Brewery (800 Vinial Street). Make sure to  wear your Urban Garden Party wristbands in order to receive $3 drink specials.

If you’re still standing on Sunday, June 21st, head back to the Mattress Factory for their annual Community Garden Party, which takes place from 1 to 5 p.m. The free family-friendly celebration, which features tons of hands-on activities and performances for all ages, is NEXTpittsburgh‘s Kidsburgh event of the week.

The Urban Garden Party often sells out in advance, so be sure to purchase your tickets today.

Jennifer Baron

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...