After 20 years in Lawrenceville, Art All Night becomes a South Side event

The Highline Building offers 80,000 square feet for Art All Night to do its thing, which is a free, non-juried, uncensored, rough-and-tumble 22-hour art show with music ricocheting around the building.

By Scott Mervis for Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

April 25, 2018

Pittsburgh – Art All Night began 21 years ago at the vacant G.C. Murphy’s building on Butler Street and since then has gone round-the-clock in 13 different locations, all in Lawrenceville.

This year, for the first time, Art All Night, a grass-roots project of the Lawrenceville Corporation, does the unthinkable and leaves the neighborhood, even crossing a river to the South Side, to hole up at The Highline (formerly known as the Terminal Building)  at 333 East Carson St.

“We start planning in February,” says Kate Bechak, the Art All Night 21 Poobah, “and our first goal is to find a location. We’ve been so lucky for the last 20 years that we’ve been able to come up with something. Our bottom line is maybe 40,000 square feet, and there’s not a lot of spaces like that. We worked really hard to find a place in Lawrenceville, but, unfortunately, there wasn’t anything that quite fit our needs.”

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Last year’s space, the warehouse on 35th Street, is in use, and the previous two locations, the Arsenal Terminal and Willow Street, have transitioned to residential in the increasingly upscale neighborhood.

The Highline Building offers 80,000 square feet for Art All Night to do its thing, which is a free, non-juried, uncensored, rough-and-tumble 22-hour art show with music ricocheting around the building.

It began, in 1998, with about 200 people checking out 101 pieces of art, and last year, it was more like 20,000 visitors and 1,050 pieces — which still range in quality from finely crafted, beautiful artwork to a hot mess.

Artists, of any level, can register on the Art All Night website and submit one piece of artwork that is ready to hang. The drop-off is from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturday, firm, and it must be picked up on Sunday between 2:30 and 5:30 p.m.

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As always, some of the art will happen right on the spot with the live painting teams and demonstrations from the Pittsburgh Glass Center and a woodworker.

The soundtrack is a main band stage, coffeehouse acoustic stage and, new this year, an open jam stage much in the spirit of the event.

Ms. Bechak says, “The developer of the Highline Building was very eager to work with us, he’d heard of Art All Night, and was excited to make things happen.”

She admits that in Lawrenceville, “A lot of people are upset, but a lot of the businesses, they see what’s happening and they completely understand we weren’t able to find anything.”

In the future, just like the art part, it’s anything goes.

“We really foresee that we will return [to Lawrenceville],” she says. “We have that as a goal. I think people are reading this as a moment of departure, but we’ve love to come back when we find that location.”

Scott Mervis: smervis@post-gazette.com.

 

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