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Pittsburgh Cultural Trust
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The Pittsburgh Cultural Trust Announces
Highmark First Night Pittsburgh 2023
Lineup for New Year’s Eve in the Cultural District
with Ice Maze, INEZ, Block Party, Parade, Fireworks, and more!
Free and Open to Everyone | First Night Friends VIP Packages Available
Friday, December 31, 2022 | 6 pm – midnight | Cultural District
PITTSBURGH, PA, December 1, 2022: Pittsburgh, put your plans on ice – literally – as the Pittsburgh Cultural Trust welcomes you to the Cultural District for New Year’s Eve with a one-of-a-kind Ice Maze to lead you into 2023.
Master ice carver and founder of Ice Creations, Richard Bubin, will create an immersive walk-through maze of giant ice blocks five feet high, specially designed and carved for the Backyard at 8th & Penn. It’s a grand return for the popular family-friendly experience that debuted in Pittsburgh’s Cultural District eight years ago.
“Pittsburgh’s Cultural District is a special destination on New Year’s Eve. Through the power of the arts, we can reflect on the past and celebrate our future,” said Sarah Aziz, Director of Festival Management for the Pittsburgh Cultural Trust. “We extend our heartfelt thanks to presenting sponsor Highmark Health, our community partners, and this year’s featured artists whose contributions will make this New Year’s Eve so memorable.”
David Holmberg, Highmark Health President and CEO, adds, “Highmark First Night Pittsburgh is a community tradition that highlights the tremendous impact of arts and culture on quality of life in Pittsburgh. Highmark Blue Cross Blue Shield is proud to continue supporting the Pittsburgh Cultural Trust and we look forward to celebrating the arrival of 2023 in the Cultural District.”
A block away but world apart from the Ice Maze, Wood Street Galleries will host a leading figure in Japan’s avant-garde art scene, choreographer and multidisciplinary artist Hiroaki Umeda, for his high-intensity dance and digital imagery installation, Intensional Particle. The event is a co-production of the Trust’s Pittsburgh Dance Council series, Visual Arts program, and Highmark First Night Pittsburgh with the gallery exhibition remaining open through March of 2023.
Familiar favorites and traditions abound, too, starting with the Dollar Bank Children’s Fireworks at 6 pm on the Dollar Bank Stage in front of the Benedum Center on 7th Street. Immediately following the kick-off event, the winner of this year’s Williams SING-OFF Competition will perform. The winner will be introduced to the stage by the competition’s Special Guest Judge, Nick Cortazzo—a Pittsburgh native and New York transplant performing as Link Larkin in the National Tour of Hairspray, part of the PNC Broadway in Pittsburgh at the Benedum Center, January 3-8, 2023. Nick Cortazzo will also perform one song on stage. Student singers in grades 6-12 within 150 miles of Pittsburgh can still audition online for the Williams SING-OFF Competition through this Sunday, December 4, at TrustArts.org/SING-OFF.
INEZ, self-proclaimed FireShorty™, multi-faceted artistic Renaissance woman, and Homewood resident headlines the Highmark Stage, 10:45 pm to midnight. The “Pittsburgh Artist of the Year” for 91.3 WYEP in 2020 is a Berklee College of Music alumna. The performance concludes with the Future of Pittsburgh Grand Finale, featuring the annual raising of the Future of Pittsburgh Ball, high atop Penn Avenue Place, signifying that Pittsburgh is a city on the rise with a fireworks finale by Pyrotechnico.
As always, there will plenty of attractions for families, including a visit to the Highmark Holiday Block Party & AHN Family Zone, 6-10 pm, at 7th & Penn where you can win prizes, warm up, and celebrate the new year with creative activities curated by community organizations. “Better World” will be the theme when the New Year’s Eve Parade presented by Giant Eagle steps off from the David L. Lawrence Convention Center at 8 pm and marches through the Cultural District along Penn Avenue. The annual arts-focused parade is packed with performance groups, loaded with artistic surprises, and led by signature giant puppets and art cars created by Studio Capezzuti.
For those looking for new experiences, the Trust will offer guided, behind-the-scenes Theater Tours of the historic Benedum Center and Byham Theater. Guests can learn about the history and magic of these 100+ year old venues – and even stop on the way in or out for face-painting, caricaturists, and tarot card readings – before heading outside for another new attraction. When 2023 arrives, the Trust will be celebrating the 50th anniversary of Hip Hop. Preview the year-long celebration with an outdoor Graffiti Gallery at Trust Oasis boasting seven large-scale murals by talented regional artists.
In addition, live music lovers can anticipate a reggae performance by 4-Yaadi on the Dollar Bank Stage as well as jazz performances in the First Night Jazz Lounge at the Trust Arts Education Center, which also plays host to performances by the Alumni Theater Company. Guests wanting to grab a popcorn and take a seat at the Harris Theater will find Laurel & Hardy shorts on the big screen. Trust visual arts galleries will be open all night, including Wood Street Galleries, SPACE, 820 Liberty Gallery, 937 Liberty, and 707 Penn Gallery—all with previously announced gallery exhibitions.
First Night Friends
While all events are free and open to everyone, special First Night Friends VIP Experiences are available to elevate your evening. Purchase your $50 experience and enjoy exclusive access to the First Night Friends Lounge sponsored by Citizens, located inside the O’Reilly Theater lobby. Guests can enjoy complimentary food, beverages, entertainment, and the convenient indoor street-level destination. Upgrade your experience with a $75 First Night Friends VIP Experience to enjoy a magical New Year with special performances at Liberty Magic, available only to First Night Friends, featuring Mr. Messado and Ran’D Shine.
First Night Friends play an important role in helping to keep Highmark First Night Pittsburgh free for the entire community. Support the Pittsburgh Cultural Trust and the New Year’s Eve festivities in the Cultural District by becoming a First Night Friend this year.
Sponsors, Community, and Media Partners
Highmark First Night Pittsburgh 2023 sponsors and partners as of December 1, 2022 include Presenting Sponsor Highmark Blue Cross Blue Shield, Allegheny Health Network, Giant Eagle, Williams, PPG, PNC, Citizens, Dollar Bank, The Buhl Foundation, The Fine Foundation, The Grable Foundation, and KDKA-TV with operational support from Flyspace Productions.
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The Pittsburgh Cultural Trust has overseen one of Pittsburgh’s most historic transformations: turning a seedy red-light district into a magnet destination for arts-lovers, residents, visitors, and business owners. Founded in 1984, the Pittsburgh Cultural Trust is a non-profit arts organization whose mission is the cultural and economic revitalization of a 14-block arts and entertainment/residential neighborhood called the Cultural District. The District is one of the country’s largest land masses “curated” by a single nonprofit arts organization. A major catalytic force in the city, the Pittsburgh Cultural Trust is a unique model of how public-private partnerships can reinvent a city with authenticity, innovation, and creativity. Using the arts as an economic catalyst, the Pittsburgh Cultural Trust has holistically created a world-renowned Cultural District that is revitalizing the city, improving the regional economy, and enhancing Pittsburgh’s quality of life. Thanks to the support of foundations, corporations, government agencies and thousands of private citizens, the Trust stands as a national model of urban redevelopment through the arts.
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