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RADical Days 2020

RADical Days, the annual celebration of the cultural institutions and organizations that benefit from Allegheny Regional Asset District sales tax funding, occurs this year from September – November 2020. It is also, as the website says, a “thank you to the public with free admission, tours, performances, and family activities.”

If you haven’t heard of RAD, know that it began in 1995 as a way to support the cultural attractions and municipalities in the county and (with your sales tax contributions) “currently provides funding to 106 diverse organizations that enhance our region’s vitality and livability. We call them our Regional Assets. From library books to leopard cubs, and ballet barres to baseball games, RAD has something for everyone!

To see all of the assets that use RAD funding in one way or another, explore the interactive map on their website, which can be filtered by category of asset, amount granted and years funded. Clicking on an asset brings up details of what it is and how to visit. In addition, RAD has recently made separate grants for projects initiated by recipients to benefit the people who use their services (including CLP!). These are called RADical Impact Grants.

Because of COVID-19, many of this year’s events are virtual, via videos on YouTube, streaming events or on Zoom. Others are in person but offered with timed ticketing options to limit the number of people in a space.

Perhaps this is just my perspective as an introvert who does not enjoy crowds, but does enjoy cultural events, but I think this is a better way to enjoy RADical Days – depending on your access to a computer, that is.  Remember, while the weather is nice, you can access free WiFi inside and outside of CLP locations – time limits apply inside – and can request hotspots and Chromebooks through the catalog. 

Here are some highlights of this year’s RADical Days:

Choirs! The Pittsburgh Youth Choir and the Pittsburgh Camerata have free videos/recordings on their YouTube channels.

Films! Film Pittsburgh is planning a fall festival of a combination of Pittsburgh Shorts (they will have one block of family friendly films available for free on November 14 & 15, the rest of the festival, November 11-22, will have a ticket fee),Three Rivers Film Festival offerings, ReelAbilities picks and JFilm Festival selections. It is planned to begin on November 11th.

Museums! Along with free (timed ticket) admission to the stalwarts like the Carnegie Museum of Art and Natural History, and the Warhol, you can virtually or in person tour the August Wilson African American Cultural Center’s current exhibit, “Like the Shape of Clouds on Water,” see photos of African American horse culture at the Silver Eye Center for Photography and make a recycled denim purse at the Society for Contemporary Craft in Lawrenceville.

Performances! Reserve a space to see Prime Stage’s performance of the stage adaptation of the book “Mockingbird” by Katherine Erskine, Quantum Theater’s production of “Wild” about Edward Snowden, or tune into a performance of folk/roots music from Robert Jones and Matt Watroba, brought to you by Calliope.

Virtual Tours! The Pittsburgh Ballet Theater will show you their Costume Shop, the Frick is letting us peer into the little-seen parts of their house and museum, and check out the exciting things Manchester Craftsman’s Guild is doing.

That’s just a small sampling of what is going on – The National Aviary, Phipps, the Western Pennsylvania Conservancy, Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh, the Pittsburgh Botanic Garden, and so many more places and organizations are opening their doors virtually or otherwise for RADical Days. See all the events on the calendar at the RAD website.

See more Virtual Programs and Activities by reading our Virtual Lineup blog posts on Eleventh Stack.

You can sign up for a free library card here. If you are new to our eResources, check out these tutorial videos on how to get started. If you have any additional questions, you can contact a librarian through  Facebook, Instagram or  Twitter. You can also call us at 412-622-3114 or email us at

Note: This post has been edited to reflect that the Film Pittsburgh Festival is not free for its whole run. Please visit the RADical Days page for more information on its free days.

Check out the RADical Days calendar of free events!

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