Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre (PBT) completed its second Open Air Series at Schenley Park in May, but this year won’t be the last, thanks to the Allegheny Regional Asset District (RAD). 

An organization that invests in libraries, parks, arts and entertainment, and more in Allegheny County, RAD awarded PBT a $250,000 Connection Grant to continue the Open Air Series. The grant will be dispersed to the PBT in different amounts through 2023 to ensure that the series can continue for years to come. 

The Open Air Series was launched in September 2020 as the pandemic was forcing events outdoors. This year, 12 of the 20 organizations that performed received funding from RAD. 

Because of the grant, the series will be able to continue with two installments per year. Last month’s series was free with open seating, while the first event in the fall was smaller and limited to members. 

“What makes the Open Air Series special is that I feel as though it’s truly about community,” says Katie Drozynski, media relations & content marketing manager for PBT. 

Drozynski says the series was a way to connect to new places and new people, thanks to the mobile stage that the ballet company got at the beginning of the pandemic. 

“It can fit a full orchestra and ballet,” she says. “It became a way for the ballet and partners to perform during Covid.”

The mobile stage will also be used for upcoming events unrelated to the Open Air Series, such as Pittsburgh CLO shows at Heinz Field. 

There are no details yet for the next series, but the goal is to reach new audiences in places that may not have easy access to the arts. Additionally, the series will continue to partner with organizations both big and small.

“The grant will allow us to enter new spaces with performing arts,” Drozynski says. “Our hopes for the future of the series are to help showcase wonderful art with new audiences and places.”

Tia Bailey

Tia is a senior journalism student at Point Park and an intern at NEXT. She loves movies, Pittsburgh and cats.