MF Urban Garden Party to celebrate 20th year


Photo by Casey Cunniff
The 2016 MF Urban Garden Party theme was “Light Up the Night,” to celebrate the installation of Hans Peter Kuhn “Acupuncture” sculpture.

By Alyse Horn

Entering its 40th anniversary, the Mattress Factory will host the 20th Annual “Urban Garden Party: MF40” on Friday, June 16.

To commemorate the year the museum was founded, Co-Director Michael Olijnyk said the theme will be 1977. A few things guests can expect will be a Studio 54 VIP lounge, Andy Warhol and Diana Ross impersonators, and a Punk Karaoke Band in the lower level lounge. There will also be Yayoi Kusama mannequin on display when guests arrive and Kierra Darshell’s Divas of Drag perusing the party. Musical performances include Beauty Slap, DJ Dave Zak and LUXE Creative Resident DJ Samuel Andres.

Olijnyk said the museum began hosting the Urban Garden Party because it needed a fundraiser, and for the first few years of the party he said he would be surprised “if we had 100 people” in attendance.

“We only had maybe one food table at the first [event],” Olijnyk said. “It’s so far back I don’t even remember if we had a theme or music, maybe someone pulled out their boom box.”

The party has grown exponentially since then, now hosting around 1,400 partygoers and museum supporters.

“What’s great is it’s a party you can come to and be a wall flower looking at the drag queens or you can be one of the drag queens,” Olijnyk said. “Every category of person is there, which is what makes it fun.”

The most important aspect of the event is that all of the money raised goes back into the museums educational and artistic programming. Last year the event raised nearly $270,000.

On Sunday, June 18 the museum will host a free Community Garden Party for the neighborhood from 1-5 p.m. All ages are welcome and guests will have the opportunity to interact with AIR screen-printing, the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh, the Carnegie Science Center, Face Painting By Rikki and Workshop PGH. DJ Dave Zak will provide music.

For the June 16, VIP ticket holders are invited to a pre-party from 6 to 7:30 pm, hosted by Mattress Factory Board Member Bob Sendall. VIP ticket holders will also have access to an exclusive VIP area during the Urban Garden Party from 7:30 to 11 pm, with a dedicated bar, restroom and courtyard.

General Admission tickets for Urban Garden Party: MF40 are $95 [$75 for MF Members]. VIP tickets are $360 [$310 for MF Members]. Tickets can be purchased online at

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