Friday, June 24, 2011

2011 Garden Party Wrap-Up

2011 Urban Garden Party Photos

Phew. It's been a week since the 2011 Urban Garden Party. We're just now coming down from the adrenaline rush of planning, anticipation, excitement, and good times. We hope those of you who attended had as much fun as we did. Because we did.

I have just one important thing to say: Thank you.

Our new boyfriends and favorite iPad DJs, AndrewAndrew

Each year, we are floored (and humbled) by the amount of support and interest the Garden Party receives. From national sponsors to tweets, our supporters have come through again to make this Garden Party our most successful to date! The event sold out and we raised more than $215,000 to support future exhibitions, education and community programs, and museum operations.

Here are a few places we were spotted after the big bash:
WPXI-TV's coverage on Seen and Be Seen
Fantastic detail shots by the talented Rob de la Cretaz
Marylynn Uricchio's Seen article for the Post-Gazette
Jo Ellen Smith shares her mad camera skillz
Kate Guerriero's Fanfare article for the Tribune-Review
Photos by the always amazing John Altdorfer on our own Mattress Factory Flickr set
Andrea Laurion shares her view of the party through dizzy photos
From our secret live streaming photo set at the party where guests uploaded their photo and instantly saw themselves on the big screen

There was a lot of buzz before the event, too:
We mustn't forget the hilarious craigslist ticket scalping and the awesome Tom Hughes' witty response
Pop City had the Garden Party as their Pick of the Week
Steeltown Anthem's creative Mundania Horvath blogs two days before the event
Lindsay Patross of I Heart Pgh wrote a great lead-up blog post on the Garden Party and the Community Garden Party – which had a record attendance of 500 people!

Again, thanks to each and every one of you for helping last Friday's event be the most successful Garden Party we've ever had!

Read All Posts by Lindsay

Monday, June 13, 2011

Go on and get down with your bird self

As I was sitting at my desk typing away the other afternoon, I decided to open the window and enjoy the soothing afternoon sounds of birds and flutes. Wait a second...flutes?

Upon further inspection I found none other than MF friend and Bird-musician Michael Pestel leading his KIDBOP children's workshop in the Garden below. The workshop has been a blast so far and along with movement artist McLean Danny and Butoh Dancer Taketeru Kudo, the kids have been learning all about bird sound and bird movement. Want to join in? Just give us a call, the workshop is running until July 1st and there is plenty of room and we welcome drop-in visitors!

The workshop is fun for all ages and even some museum directors
(MF Co-Director and Founder Barbara Luderowski pictured right)

Oh, but that's not all! (in my best Bob Barker showcase showdown voice) We've got some great performances lined up featuring the Big Experimental Bird Orchestra of Pittsburgh (BEBOP)! The Mattress Factory was pumped to team up with their Northside neighbors the National Aviary and the Children's Museum to bring this series of performances, as well as the KIDBOP workshop, to Pittsburgh.

Join us bright and early July 9th at 6 a.m. for a morning of musical performance with the Stray Birds Sunrise Performance. That afternoon, at 2 p.m., the kids from this week's workshop will be performing alongside BEBOP as KIDBOP: the Kids Incredibly Daring Bird Orchestra of Pittsburgh.

Can't make it this Sunday? No problemo my avian aficionado, on Friday, July 15th at 8 p.m. is the Stray Birds Sunset Full Moon Performance. Hang out with us in the MF garden for an evening of music and outdoor video projections of the BEBOP/KIDBOP project.

For a little taste of what you're getting yourself into, check out this video of Michael performing with some of his friends at the National Aviary:

So join us for some outdoor, musical fun July 9th and July 15th and get on down with your bird self!

Video of Pestel and Kudo Butoh performance on 6/26/11 by Renee Rosensteel

The KIDBOP workshop and BEBOP/KIDBOP performances are being presented by The Mattress Factory in partnership with The Children's Museum of Pittsburgh and The National Aviary. Funded by The National Endowment for the Arts and the Grable Foundation as part of the Charm Bracelet Project Fund.

Monday, June 6, 2011


Hello friends, my name is Tom. I’m the summer marketing intern here at the Mattress Factory and today I have come on a mission. A mission to tell you about yet another rocking party the Mattress Factory is throwing this month.

Less than 36 hours after the 2011 Urban Garden Party’s trip from Hollywood to Paradise has drawn to a close (and in less time than it takes to walk to Homer City, PA and back), we will be throwing our Community Garden Party!

We’re going to have some awesome performances, great art and amazing personalities including the emcees of the party, Tom Sarver and Mike Cuccaro of The Puppet Happening. I’m telling you, this party is going to have it all.

You wanna to see the art? We got you.

Our galleries will be open and you can see our latest exhibition Neighbo(u)rhood in the main galleries. Or take a walk down to our satellite space at 1414 Monterey Street to see all the great work done by local artists for Gestures 15.

You wanna make some art? Oh man, we got you.

Going along with our newest exhibition Neighbo(u)rhood, there will be art-making activities including screen printing, flower potting, sound recordings and more.

You wanna hear some music? How about some drums….OF STEEL.

We’ve got local steel drum masters North Side Urban Pathways Sounds of Steel coming in and the folks from Evolve Productions will be dancing up a storm.

You get the gist, a fun time will be had by all who attend. Now, I know what you may be thinking, “But Tom, how could I possibly afford this afternoon of unleashing my wild side with my friends and family?” and “Who would ever think to walk to Homer City, Pennsylvania?”

Friends, allow me to answer only one of those questions:

This party is FREE, it’s going to be fun for all ages and it’s open to the public. Come on down Sunday, June 19 and party with us from noon to five!

Special thanks to our sponsors:



Huntington National Bank

PNC Bank

Venture Outdoors

Artist Image Resource

Rita's Italian Ice


Indigo Raffel

Obscure Games

Tee Rex

Thursday, June 2, 2011


We start planning for the Garden Party 51 weeks in advance. Yup. That’s right; the week after the Garden Party we’re back at it again.

This will be my fifth Garden Party as an MFer. Despite the insane hours and the heart palpitations of worry – this party is a blast! And it's only 15 days away.

A few things you may not know about the 2011 Urban Garden Party:

James Foreman, Mattress Factory member and supporter, is running his second annual “Win a Date” contest for one lucky girl (or guy) to be Jim’s date for the evening. For icing on the cake, he’s buying a Green Membership and handing it straight to you so you can keep on enjoying the Mattress Factory for 364 days after the Garden Party ends. Full disclosure: I’ve known Jim for 9 years. He’s a good guy. One of the best. He’ll blush for the first five minutes, and then continue to blush after consuming his first mixed drink. He’s nice, intelligent, thoughtful, generous, and will watch you dance your ass off (not so much of a dancer, that guy).

He’ll be picking a hot date in the next few days, so apply now!

Jim at 5, I think. He doesn't know I'm using this photo... yet.

Nobody knows about this yet, so this is the exclusive, last-minute announcement: Do you have a boyfriend? A girlfriend? A wife? A husband? A domestic partner? A best friend? Now's your chance! James is cracking the whip and forcing his judges to choose a winner for Win a Date With Each Other! That's right - he's giving away two extra tickets to the couple who wants it the most!

Stay tuned to the @MattressFactory twitter feed and Facebook page for more information about how you and the partner of your choice can join James and his date for the best party this side of paradise!

Here is Jim (near right) at last year's Garden Party.

P.S. Oh, also, he’s a newly published author.

Pocketbook a little light? Watch during the final two weeks–starting tomorrow–for a few ticket giveaways on Twitter and Facebook.

Follow us on Twitter and like us on Facebook for your chance to enter a contest to win a pair of tickets to the party! (Already purchased your tickets? No worries, we’ll give you an automatic upgrade to our exclusive VIP party for being such awesome supporters/partiers.)

AndrewAndrew will be here DJing from their iPads. And probably judging what you wear more than you think. (My favorite line in the video below: “We’re the guys who invented Facebook.”)

Someone is trying to scalp Garden Party tickets on craigslist:
The MF building posted a response:

The bottom line? This is going to be a fantastic party. I'd love to see you there on Friday, June 17th.

Read All Posts by Lindsay

Wednesday, June 1, 2011


Every Thursday from now until Labor day the MF education department will set up shop in West Park near Lake Elizabeth (we like to call her Lake Liz) on the Northside. We’ll offer a different hands-on activity related to the outdoors and art each week! We’re excited to partner with Venture Outdoors and Kayak Pittsburgh for this, our 2nd year – providing free weekly programs for all ages!

MFers hanging out making art at Lake Liz

Located in the city’s oldest park, Allegheny Commons/West Park, Lake Elizabeth is perfect for families, beginning kayakers, or anyone nervous about getting out on the river. Just 3 feet deep, this shallow lake offers great views of the downtown skyline in a controlled environment. Allegheny Commons is located on Pittsburgh’s North Side near the National Aviary and only a few blocks from the Mattress Factory.

Kayak Pittsburgh lets you poke around the lake

When: Every Thursday (June 2 - September 1, 2011), 4-6pm
Where: At Lake Elizabeth
Who: You, Mattress Factory, and Kayak Pittsburgh
Cost: FREE ($5 per kayak on weekends)

Read All Posts by Liz