CMOA Creates Immersive Event Series to Expand Ways People Engage With Art
“Inside Out” will use Carnegie Museum of Art's outdoor courtyard to reconnect the public with local artists.
Watching live performances with friends and family, sipping local beer, and safely reconnecting with the Pittsburgh party scene will all be added to the list of things to do at the Carnegie Museum of Art (CMOA) this summer.
On June 5, the museum launched Inside Out, a free event series aimed at reconnecting the public with each other as well as artists from across the region. The series, which will occur from 4 to 8 p.m. Thursdays and noon to 5 p.m. Saturdays, will continue until Sept. 4 in the museum’s outdoor Sculpture Courtyard.
Dana Bishop-Root, director of education and public programs for the museum, says she sees the courtyard as a place where people can gather while accessing the museum’s resources.
“[Inside Out] is really thinking about, ‘How do we utilize and activate the museum spaces as a place for people to connect with each other, to connect across neighborhoods, and to connect across cultural experiences?’” Bishop-Root says.
Each event will feature live DJs and art-making activities guests can bring back to their tables. Visitors will have the option to purchase food from local food trucks and the museum’s Carnegie Café, which will offer custom snacks, wine and local beer.
Saturdays will also include sporadic performances from local arts organizations who will use the outdoor courtyard as a stage, which Bishop-Root says will provide attendees with an immersive arts experience.
“The idea is that the audience will be the public,” Bishop-Root says. “…You grab a beer from a local brewery and you enjoy some food from a local food truck … under the big sky among the sculptures, and all of a sudden Legacy Arts has dancers that start to dance around you. It’s a really in-the-round performance.”
Bishop-Root says a primary goal of Inside Out is to support performing arts organizations and artists who have been unable to showcase their work due to the pandemic. Featuring DJs — who will play music geared toward a family-friendly environment — is one way event organizers hope to achieve this, while also recognizing the significant role nightlife plays in Pittsburgh’s cultural ecosystem.
“Every Thursday night is a different party that happens in Pittsburgh that has its own distinct relationship to the city and type of music,” Bishop-Root says. “It really gives them [DJs] an opportunity to regather their audiences and people who have really missed their music and also introduce their music to new audiences.”
While some may not associate DJs and beer with an event hosted by an art museum, this is exactly the vision behind Inside Out. Bishop-Root, who says art is always in relationship to other art, sees the outdoor courtyard as a place for mutuality.
“A huge part of this is recognizing that a neighborhood arts organization might have a very different audience than the CMOA, and these audiences are based on faith, are based on intention of design,” Bishop-Root says. “This is a moment to really share audiences and say, ‘with each other, we actually create more access points to the work that we’re doing.’”
But Inside Out won’t only expand artists’ audiences — it will also encourage people to reconsider their own relationship to art.
“We don’t recognize how many assumptions we have about how we enter a space or how we walk into a museum or how you’re supposed to experience art,” Bishop-Root says. “It’s a moment to really rethink and re-experience how we see ourselves as public, participants, artists and community.”
Inside Out, which visitors can access through the parking lot at the back of the museum, will be open to all ages on a first-come, first-serve basis. To ensure safety, capacity will be limited to 130 visitors at a time and be monitored by a staff member greeting visitors as they enter the event.
Visitors can also purchase timed tickets online in advance for regular admission into the museum, which will be half-price on Thursdays from 3-8 p.m. Bishop-Root says this will encourage those who attend Inside Out to come and go as they please, another way to promote social distancing.
While there is no expectation that those who attend Inside Out also purchase tickets to enter the museum, Bishop-Root says engaging with both will create a well-rounded experience.
“How does your experience shift going into a contemporary art gallery and going to see the Elle Peréz exhibit after listening to New Wave Disco?” Bishop-Root says. “Does that change your experience of looking at art? I think so.”
As of right now, Inside Out will require all visitors to wear masks, as per the Carnegie Museums of Pittsburgh current policy. Bishop-Root says the museum’s highest priority is the health and safety of visitors and that any changes to the policy will be updated on the CMOA website.
The Inside Out Schedule can be found below:
Saturdays noon to 5 p.m. — Live DJs; Pop-up performances
- June 5 – DJ collective Most Beautifullest; Opening Day Celebration with Sankofa Village for the Arts Drum and Dance
- June 12 – DJ Shoe; Performance by Rodger Humphries and the RH Factor Band
- June 19 – DJ Wade Anthony; Performance by Alumni Theatre Company
- June 26 – DJ Soy Sos; Performance by STAYCEE PEARL dance project & Soy Sos
- July 3 – DJ Formosa Exe; Performance and arts activities by BOOM Concepts
- July 10 – DJ Shoe; Performance by Legacy Arts Project
- July 17 – DJ Femi; Performance by Dreams of Hope
- July 24 – DJ HUNY; Performance by Jasmine Hearn Dances
- July 31 – DJ Femi; Performance by Afro Yaqui Music Collective
- Aug. 7 – DJ QRX; Performance by Texture Contemporary Ballet
- Aug. 14 – DJ Freeter; Performance by Clara Kent
- Aug. 21 – DJ Soy Sos; Performance by STAYCEE PEARL dance project & Soy Sos
- Aug. 28 – DJ Shoe; Performance by Alia Musica Pittsburgh
- Sept. 4 – DJ Soy Sos; Performances by Kassia Ensemble and Sankofa Village for the Arts
Thursdays 4 to 8 p.m. – Live DJs; half-price museum admission from 3 to 8 p.m.
- June 10 – DJ Title Town
- June 17 – DJ Diamond Life
- June 24 – DJ Hot Mass + Friends
- July 1 – DJ UHAUL Disco
- July 8 – DJ Sappho
- July 15 – DJ YASS Queen
- July 22 – Record Store Pop-Up
- July 29 – DJ Hot Mass + Friends
- Aug. 5 – DJ Jellyfish
- Aug. 12 – DJ collective Most Beautifullest
- Aug. 19 – Bento Boombox
- Aug. 26 – DJ MESH
- Sept. 2 – DJ collective Afroheat!