RADical Days

RADical Days are here: 5 weeks of free events happening in our region

Photo above courtesy of Squonk Opera.

RADical Days 2022 has begun. This annual event began on Sept. 9 and includes more than five weeks of free events at more than 60 locations around the region.

RAD, which stands for Regional Asset District, works by getting one cent from every tax dollar in Allegheny County. Half of that goes to regional assets like libraries, museums, parks, arts organizations and other regional attractions, and those places are now giving back.

RADical Days can be a great chance to try something you’ve never done before. On Sept. 14, Squonk brings its outdoor music spectacle called “Hand to Hand” to RADdays on the Rachel Carson Bridge. Founded in Pittsburgh 30 years ago and now an international touring company, Squonk’s free show features these 25-foot tall hands moving to the music.

“Hands are how we do things as humans, how we make things happen,” says Steve O’Hearn, Squonk’s co-artistic director. “It gives us our capacity to do things, and there’s a lot of really interesting bioengineering and evolution.”

 Kids and adults get to be part of the show and participate in workshops, learning how the giant hands operate and how the artists create the whole spectacle.

Another free RADical Days show to try is from the Pittsburgh Opera. They usually perform at the Benedum Center with full-scale productions, but they’re offering a sort of “intro to opera” for anyone who may want to try it for the first time.

The rising stars of the Pittsburgh Opera, who are professional resident artists, will sing a variety of musical styles, and the audience chooses the finale.

It’s happening on Sunday, Sept. 11 at 6 p.m. after the Steeler game.

“It’s a great sort of introduction to opera. If folks out there haven’t been to opera — maybe they like musicals but don’t know much about opera — this is a very, very easy, low-risk way to come check it out,” says Chris Cox, Pittsburgh Opera’s marketing and communications director.

RAD funding was a huge help to many arts organizations that struggled without ticket sales during the pandemic, and it demonstrates the region’s commitment to a high quality of life for residents.

Cox said of the fund and the people of Allegheny County who support it: “They recognize that to be a world-class place to live, you have to have a lot of fun things to do, including world-class performing arts organizations.” 

These are just a handful of the more than 75 free RADical Days events happening Sept. 9 through Oct. 16.  Click here to see the complete calendar of events.