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RAD Supports Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre's Open Air Series

RAD Board supports the continuation of Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre's Open Air Series with a $250,000 Connection Grant


Funding to offset costs for RAD assets and other eligible organizations to participate 

Pittsburgh, PA — With Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre (PBT)’s second Open Air Series in full swing at Schenley Park, the Allegheny Regional Asset District (RAD) Board in its meeting on May 25, 2021, approved a Connection Grant in the amount of $250,000 to support the continuation of the series and its inclusion of other RAD-funded and RAD-eligible organizations. The grant will be released in three phases between 2021 and 2023 – allocating $125,000 in year one, $75,000 in year two, and $50,000 in year three – in support of at least six more series events each spring and fall.  

PBT launched the Open Air Series in September 2020 as a safe solution to performing arts engagement during the Covid-19 pandemic, and it will continue as an innovative way to engage new audiences by traveling its mobile stage to neighborhoods throughout the region. The RAD Connection Grant will help offset production-related expenses for partnering organizations, many of whom are groups with smaller budgets that would not be able to afford the infrastructure and labor costs on their own to participate. The RAD Board also emphasized the series’ potential to reach neighborhoods that may not typically have access to the world-class performing arts that are often concentrated in the downtown Cultural District.  

“Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre has taken a community-minded approach to reintroducing the performing arts in our region,” said Dusty Elias Kirk, RAD Board Chair. “As stewards of taxpayer dollars, the RAD Board strives to ensure that our funding supports greater access to our regional assets for everyone. The Open Air Series offers an exciting way for people to engage with our many excellent performing arts organizations right in their own neighborhoods, and we are proud to support the series as it continues to expand its reach.”  

The second edition of the Open Air Series is currently running at Flagstaff Hill in Schenley Park and features performances from over 20 local performing arts organizations, 12 of which are current RAD assets. Free and open seating is available for every performance, and limited reserved seating is available for purchase. Sites under consideration for future series events include Hazelwood Green, Boyce Park, Homewood Library, and a return to Flagstaff Hill.  

"It has been the longstanding mission of Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre to make the arts accessible to as many people as possible,” said Harris Ferris, PBT Executive Director. “Now, through the help of the Allegheny Regional Asset District and PBT's mobile stage, the Open Air Series is poised to extend the footprint of the performing arts to areas and audiences that may not have been able to experience the excitement of live performance in the past. Sharing the stage and the series with other Cultural District anchors and smaller performing arts organizations creates the opportunity to connect with new audiences and build a stronger arts community in the region.”  

RAD’s Connection Grant program fosters cost-saving connections between and among regional assets to ensure their long-term sustainability. The goal of this program is to support the implementation of efforts that will result in revenue enhancement, cost savings, and/or reduced professional costs through sharing. Along with PBT’s Open Air Series, the RAD Board authorized a $25,000 Connection Grant for Pittsburgh Camerata to support the establishment of a formal administrative affiliation with the Pittsburgh Girls Choir. RAD’s Connection Grant program launched in 2009 and has since invested over $2.3 million in connection projects. Learn more about RAD’s Connection Grant program at