Pittsburgh Cultural District comeback heralded with 3-day celebration LIGHTS ON!

Editors note: This story has been updated with the latest performance schedules and times.

By Sharon Eberson

After 15 long months of lights out, it’s finally time for Lights On!, a three-day celebration of reopening by the arts organizations of the Pittsburgh Cultural District.

The free performances Sept. 9-11 also mark the kickoff to RADical Days 2021, including organizations that cut across all branches of the arts.The Cultural District Downtown may feel a bit like First Night; as the August

Wilson African American Cultural Center, Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre, Pittsburgh CLO, Pittsburgh Cultural Trust, Pittsburgh Opera, Pittsburgh Public Theater, and Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra bring back live and in-person arts experiences.

The free presentations will take place at the Pittsburgh Downtown Partnership’s Allegheny Overlook Park on Ft. Duquesne Boulevard, the Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre’s Mobile Stage at the 8th Street Parking Lot at Penn Avenue, and the Trust Oasis on 7th Street.

RADical Days, the annual thank you to the public for its tax dollars, includes free access to organizations and attractions funded by the Allegheny Regional Asset District (RAD) and runs Sept. 9 through Oct. 10.
The full schedule of performances will be announced in August.

The Lights On! celebration also features groups from throughout the region, Pittsburgh Downtown Partnership events, and the Greater Pittsburgh Arts Council’s Restart the Arts truck, a part of GPAC’s public service campaign to safely reengage audiences.

The announcement on Tuesday said the schedule Lights On! is growing daily as community partners come on board. The anchor events from the Cultural District organizations will run Thursday, Sept. 9, 5 p.m.-10 p.m.; Friday, Sept. 10, 2 p.m. – midnight and Saturday, Sept. 11, 11 a.m. – 10 p.m. Check CulturalDistrict.org leading up to the event for updates and what the organizations are doing to help visitors stay safe.

Pittsburgh Cultural Trust’s Benedum Center – Photo by the author 

Updated Schedule of Lights On! Programs from Cultural District Organizations

Thursday, Sept. 9

5 p.m.: Opening remarks and performance, presented by Pittsburgh Downtown Partnership and Cultural District organizations (Allegheny Overlook Stage).

6 p.m.: Excerpts from Napoli Three – 4, 6, 8, presented by Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre (8th Street Stage).

7 p.m.: The Nth Power, presented by the August Wilson African American Cultural Centerat (Allegheny Overlook Stage).

8 p.m.: Love, Laugh, Sing!, presented by Pittsburgh CLO (8th Street Stage).

9 p.m.: Shemekia Copeland, presented by the Pittsburgh Cultural Trust (Allegheny Overlook Stage).

Friday, Sept. 10

2 p.m.: Barefoot in the Park…In the Park, presented by the Pittsburgh Public Theater (8th Street Stage).

5 p.m. to midnight:  Gallery Crawl in the Cultural District and Crawl After Dark, with new exhibitions in Space, Wood Street Galleries, 707 Penn Gallery, 820 Liberty Gallery and 937 Gallery, presented by the Pittsburgh Cultural Trust (throughout the Cultural District).

8 p.m.: Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra: A Season Preview — 50th Anniversary of Heinz Hall!, presented by the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra (8th Street Stage).

Saturday, Sept. 11

11 a.m.:  – a child-friendly dance and music event with a DJ,, particularly for children ages 0-5 and their families, presented by the Pittsburgh Cultural Trust Arts Education Dept. (8th Street Stage).

2 p.m.: Grow Up Great — Pittsburgh Opera Resident Artists Concert, presented by Pitttsburgh Opera (8th Street Stage).

Lights On! is sponsored by UPMC and UPMC Health Plan, with additional support provided by The Heinz Endowments and Richard King Mellon Foundation.

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