The Pittsburgh Cultural Trust’s Spring Gallery Crawl will look a little more like a pub crawl this season.
The Trust has partnered with Pittsburgh Craft Beer Week to bring 11 taste-testing stations to the Cultural District’s quarterly arts festival.
“If you love beer, you might come down and it will be your first time at the crawl, and you came for the beer,” Janis Burley Wilson, vice president of community engagement and education for the Pittsburgh Cultural Trust, said. “We’re always looking for people to partner with and different ways that we can push what we’re doing and expose new people to a variety of genres.”
Those genres are featured in dozens of art exhibitions, as well as comedy, dance and music performances at about 30 Downtown venues.
Performers at the SPACE gallery will take a political tone, highlighting the impact of guns in the U.S. in an exhibit called “UNLOADED.” In conjunction, students from MGR Youth Empowerment Pittsburgh are organizing a flash mob called “#chalkedUNARMED” to call attention to all of the unarmed black men killed by police.
At Bend Yoga on Penn Avenue, crawlers can try their hand at the downward-facing dog and sun salutation during two free half hour yoga sessions.
And, along Tito Way, crawlers can stop by the “Cell Phone Disco,” which uses thousands of lights to visualize the electromagnetic field of nearby active mobile phones.
Burley Wilson said not much instruction is given to the artists before the crawl, because she wants the experience to be as organic as possible.
“The whole point of the gallery crawl is to bring together the local and regional arts community and give them a forum to show their works, to provide exposure for the really talented artists we have here in our region,” she said.
Burley Wilson likened the experience to a potluck dinner.
“When you’re going to see the different artists and the different venues, it’s authentic of what they do and to their audience,” Burley Wilson said. “I’m not in the business of controlling any of this. It’s what everybody brings to the table.”
But when it comes to music, Burley Wilson said she looks outside the city to give Pittsburghers a taste of the type of art being created around the world. For this crawl, Mavis Swan Poole and the band Soul Understated from Brooklyn will perform at the Peirce Studio on Liberty Avenue.
“We’ll bring in a group that makes you want to dance because I don’t think there are a lot of places in Pittsburgh to dance,” she said. “This is a way that we can kind of have a party within the crawl.”
The crawl is Friday, April 24 from 5:30 p.m. to 10 p.m. and is free for all ages.