Over the past year we’ve witnessed the Covid-19 pandemic transform the usual bustling streets of the Cultural District into vacant theaters and galleries. But thanks to several pivotal Downtown performing arts organizations, the Cultural District will become alive like never before!

Lights On! A Three-day Celebration of Pittsburgh’s Cultural District will take place September 9-11 and is bringing back 50+ of our favorite performances, exhibitions, and events including the return of the official Gallery Crawl in the Cultural District — all for free and open to the public. Participating organizations include The August Wilson African American Cultural Center, Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre, Pittsburgh CLO, Pittsburgh Cultural Trust, Pittsburgh Opera, Pittsburgh Public Theater, and Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra. In addition, Lights On! features Pittsburgh Downtown Partnership events and the Greater Pittsburgh Arts Council’s Restart the Arts truck, which is a new initiative to help safely re-engage audiences in the arts.

Lights On! is sponsored by UPMC and UPMC Health Plan with additional support provided by The Heinz Endowments and Richard King Mellon Foundation and also serves as the official kick-off event to Allegheny Regional Asset District’s RADical Days.

All Lights On! performances will be held at three locations throughout the district, the Pittsburgh Downtown Partnership’s Allegheny Overlook Park on Ft. Duquesne Boulevard, the Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre’s (PBT) Mobile Stage at the 8th Street Parking Lot at Penn Avenue, and the Trust Oasis on 7th Street. The three-day event kicks off on Thursday, September 9, at 5 p.m. with opening remarks and a performance by the Pittsburgh Downtown Partnership and all Cultural District organizations at the Allegheny Overlook Stage. Other performances at this stage include jazz/rap group Nth Power presented by the August Wilson African American Cultural Center at 7 p.m. and soul artist Shemekia Copeland presented by the Pittsburgh Cultural Trust at 9 p.m. The Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre will perform pieces from the full-length ballet Napoli along with a new work by Helen Pickett titled Three – 4,6,8. at the PBT Mobile Stage at 6 p.m, followed by Love, Laugh, Sing! A concert filled with your favorite Broadway songs performed by members of the Pittsburgh CLO at 8 p.m.

The second day of the celebration starts off with a performance of Barefoot in the Park at the PBT Mobile Stage at 2 p.m. by the Pittsburgh Public Theater. Later that day marks the return of the ever-popular Gallery Crawl in the Cultural District presented by the Pittsburgh Cultural Trust starting at 5:30 p.m. The Crawl has six featured events, which includes five new and exciting exhibitions throughout the District’s art galleries: Among Women: Contemporary Art from Serbia guest curated by Rachel Kilipa at 937 Liberty, An<says>tors by The Coloured Section Black Artists’ Collective at 820 Liberty, This Sacred Thing guest curated by Sam Smith, Ian Brill, and Keith Tassick at SPACE Gallery, a laser sculpture by Matthew Schreiber of New Work at Wood Street Galleries, and Remnants by Philip Rostek at 707 Gallery. The final featured event of the crawl is the return of the epic outdoor Silent Disco dance party featuring DJ Femi, DJ Nate da Barber and Selecta at 10 p.m. Check-in at the intersection of Ft. Duquesne Boulevard and 6th Street.

“We are so excited for the return of the Gallery Crawl in the Cultural District live and in person for the first time in more than a year, and what better way to celebrate the grand re-opening of our Downtown streets than having this event be a part of Lights On!”, says Terri Bell, Vice President Strategic Partnerships and Community Engagement of the Pittsburgh Cultural Trust. “This entire celebration has been such a team effort and on behalf of every participating organization we can’t wait to welcome everyone back to the Cultural District.”

To view the full Gallery Crawl in the Cultural District schedule, visit the website.

In addition to the Crawl, the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra is performing a special preview of the 2021-2022 season at the PBT Mobile Stage at 8 p.m.

On the celebration’s final day, the Pittsburgh Cultural Trust invites you and your family to the first-ever Baby Rave held at Allegheny Overlook at 11 a.m. This event is best for families with children 5 and under and includes child-friendly dance music presented by DJ RBNOUS. After dancing the morning away, head over to the PBT Mobile Stage at 2 p.m. for Downtown Divas, a combination of 0pera’s greatest hits performed by Pittsburgh Opera’s award-winning resident artists.

All attendees are encouraged to mask up and be vaccinated in order to safely experience all the events throughout Lights On! For more information on health and safety, to see the full schedule of events not listed here, and a map of all stage locations, please visit https://trustarts.org/lightson.

NEXTpittsburgh features sponsored content on topics considered to be relevant to our readers. For more information on sponsored content please contact info@nextpittsburgh.