Frequently Asked Questions

What services does PITT ARTS provide an undergraduate?

PITT ARTS pays for your visit during the fall and spring semesters to the Carnegie Museum of Art, Carnegie Museum of National History, Phipps Conservatory, Mattress Factory, Warhol Museum, and the Heinz History Center. Make sure to take your PITT ID with you!

Traditional registered full-time undergraduates may also participate in our free Arts Encounters. As a University of Pittsburgh student, you may also purchase discounted tickets to many great local venues. Visit our office to purchase tickets. You can sign up to receive a weekly e-mail that explains our upcoming Arts Encounters.

What are PITT ARTS Arts Encounters?

PITT ARTS brings University of Pittsburgh traditional registered full-time undergraduate students to 110 Free Arts Encounters a year. This includes trips to experience the most sought-after arts events in Pittsburgh, such as the symphony, opera, ballet, films, concerts, galleries, and the theater. We provide transportation, a catered reception, and tickets. Also, there is always an educational component that offers a context for the encounter you will have with art, such as e-mailed essays, discussions with artists, or hands-on workshops.


I'm a graduate student/non-traditional undergrad at PITT. Can I go on Arts Encounters?

PITT ARTS Arts Encounters are only for Pitt traditional registered full-time undergrads. However, every Wednesday we send out our Hotlist calendar that goes out to graduate/non-trad students, faculty, and staff who have signed up to receive that e-mail. The Hotlist lets you know about cheap and free arts events going on every week in the city and on campus. Sign up to receive the Hotlist via e-mail.

I'm a grad student/non-traditional undergrad/staff/faculty. How can PITT ARTS benefit me?

As a graduate/non-traditional student, you are welcome to take advantage of free visits during the fall and spring semesters to the Carnegie Museum of Art, Carnegie Musuem of Natural History, Phipps Conservatory, the Mattress Factory, the Warhol Museum, and the Heinz History Center. Just take your PITT ID with you when you would like to visit. Faculty, staff, and graduate/non-traditional students may purchase discounted tickets to many local venues.

Sign up to receive our weekly e-mail Hotlist highlighting upcoming arts events. Remember, our office's resources on Pittsburgh's arts community are always at your disposal.

How do I sign up to receive the weekly e-calendars?

You can sign up online to receive the weekly e-mail. Or, you can e-mail PITT ARTS and ask them to place you on the distribution list. Please provide your name, e-mail address, and university status.

What happens on an Artful Wednesday?

PITT ARTS and Student Life brings performers to Pitt's newest stage in Nordy's Place of the William Pitt Union (Lower Level) every Wednesday in the fall from Noon–1 p.m. Bring your appetite, too, because not only do you get to experience great free art, but you also get a great free lunch! Grab some food, a chair, and check out what we have to offer. No need to sign up, just show up and enjoy.

What is the Cheap Seats program?

Cheap Seats are discounted tickets to the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra, Pittsburgh Opera, Quantum Theatre, Manchester Craftsmen's Guild Jazz, Pittsburgh Public Theater, Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre, Guitar Society of Fine Art, Pittsburgh Cultural Trust/Pittsburgh Dance Council, Renaissance and Baroque Society, and Pittsburgh CLO.

Cheap Seats are offered to the students, staff and faculty of Pitt. You may purchase up to four at one time and your guests do not have to be associated with Pitt. You must be accompanying your guests, however; this program is not intended for you to purchase tickets for people with whom you are not attending.

Please note that the events involved are not Pitt sponsored events or venues.  Rather, PITT ARTS works with arts organizations to ensure that "best available" seating is offered for a low price. Individuals with special needs should contact the arts organization directly in order to purchase tickets and ensure accessible seating.

These tickets are available for purchase through the PITT ARTS office at 929 in the William Pitt Union. In the hallway outside our office you will find the order form for the venue of your choice. Instructions for self service are located on the wall. There are specific deadlines by which you must purchase tickets for each organization's events. As always, ask our office staff for any assistance that you may need.

How do I sign-up for Free Arts Encounters?

Each Monday we e-mail a calendar of upcoming events to all of the Pitt traditional registered full-time undergraduates on our e-mail distribution list to let you know about all the exciting arts events that you can experience with us for free. To sign up you need to follow the link provided in the e-mail. The link will take you to a Web page where you will be prompted to select what program you would like to attend.

Sign up for the weekly events e-newsletter.

Can I take a friend to Free Arts Encounters?

For PITT ARTS events, sure! When you sign yourself up for an event a space is provided on the same form for you to sign up a friend as well. We normally only grant guest status to one person aside from yourself; however, he or she must be a University of Pittsburgh traditional registered full-time undergraduate student. You must also provide all of the information requested in the sign-up process, or your guest sign-up may not register on our system. Also, please do not sign up guests or other friends without their knowledge; this sometimes leads to guests not knowing they are signed up for a program, missing the event, and receiving a strike.

What happens if I'm unable to attend something I have signed up for?

Just let us know via email, phone call (412-624-4498) or by stopping in the PITT ARTS office at 929 William Pitt Union. Let us know before noon on the day of a weekday program or by noon on the Friday of a weekend program and we'll cancel your reservation. If you do not cancel please remember we do have a two-strike rule and another missed event will result in forfeiting future Free Arts Encounters.

What is the two-strike policy?

Our policy is: if you don't show up for one program, you are put on a warning list. If you don't show up for two programs, you are taken off our e-mail distribution list and are no longer eligible to participate in our amazing PITT ARTS programs.

If you know you need to cancel your participation, please phone us at 412-624-4498 or email us by noon on Friday before a weekend event, and by noon on the day of the event for a weekday event. In other words, we need enough advance notice of your non-participation so we can notify people who may be on a waiting list that they can participate. Don't take away another student's opportunity by canceling at the last minute or by not showing up.

Can I just get my tickets and skip the other activities?

No. If you attend an Free Arts Encounter, you are participating in a comprehensive program. We work hard to ensure that there are transportation, food and tickets for all those in attendance. We also provide education, such as a pre-show talk or a tour of the facilities and sometimes even a meet-and-greet with the artist.

If you are not sure that you will be able to attend the entire program, we ask that you do not sign up for it. If you wish to go on your own with friends or family, we recommend that you come up to our office at 929 William Pitt Union and purchase discounted tickets from the prominent display outside of our office. We sell deeply discounted seats for eleven different arts organizations.

How long is the average event?

The average event lasts anywhere from two to five hours. If we have something planned, then we stay within the time frame we established. If you are concerned about timing, check out the event on its respective Web site or email us.

Is there a behavior protocol for PITT ARTS programs?

Yes. The vast majority of students who attend PITT ARTS programs are absolutely lovely and extremely grateful for all that we do.  There are times when program timelines or features change due to something outside of our control.  No matter how the program unfolds, please be patient and treat your host and other students on the program with civility and respect. As a program of the University of Pittsburgh, we hold ourselves to the standard of interaction put forth in the Pitt Promise, and we ask that you do, too.

How can I become a PITT ARTS host?

Most of our hosts have attended a number of our programs. They understand the structure of our events, and, in the past, they have been escorted by our previous hosts and program leaders. Come to our office at 929 William Pitt Union with your resume and ask about hosting.

What should I wear?

Each event has a different, suggested code of dress. When deciding what to wear, remember that you will be attending a live performance with other paying patrons, so looking good is important.

Performances such as theater or ballet, opera or symphony are dressier than, say, a trip to Phipps or one of the museums. For the performances, business casual is suggested. This means non-jeans—skirts, dresses, and nice shirts or blouses would be great. For guys, a button-down shirt and dressier pants work well. Ties and jackets are optional, but always look good.

Flip flops, sneakers, and book-bags should be left at home; cell phones and pagers turned off; and perfume and cologne kept at a minimum, because some people are allergic. Common sense is the key.

Where does the funding for PITT ARTS and their programs come from?

PITT ARTS Free Arts Encounters are not funded by your student fees or by Student Activities. We are funded through the Office of the Provost. The Provost has a firm commitment that students at Pitt have the opportunity to take advantage of all that Pittsburgh has to offer. The concept that “the city is our campus" informs how PITT ARTS connects students with Pittsburgh's vibrant art scene, both off and on campus.

In recent years, PITT ARTS has received special grants. These have enabled us to offer even greater in-depth programs for you. Part of the work of the grant is to gather feedback from you in the form of surveys. If you are asked to fill out a survey, please do it thoughtfully and thoroughly because that information is used to make your arts experiences with PITT ARTS even better. Our Free Visits program is funded in part by the School of Arts and Sciences. In addition to these funding sources, alumni, parents, students, faculty, and staff have contributed to PITT ARTS in the form of monetary gifts.

Why do you have the Free Visits partners that you do?

Our Free Visits partners, Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens, the Carnegie Museums of Art and Natural History, Andy Warhol Museum, The Mattress Factory, and the Heinz History Center, have been major players in the Pittsburgh arts and culture community for many years. They are also programming partners for our Free Arts Encounters programs.

Why isn’t the PITT ARTS Free Visits program offered in the summer?

The goal of PITT ARTS is to provide programming opportunities for our full-time resident students during the academic year and to integrate students who are new to Pittsburgh into the life of the city. 

How can I give back to PITT ARTS?

Ticket to the Opera, $98. Ticket to the Symphony, $63. Ticket to the Ballet, $70. Involvement with PITT ARTS—priceless!

Did you ever think about the great cultural value that PITT ARTS brings to you and members of the entire Pitt community? Now, consider that ticket prices, transportation, and even catering costs are increasing rapidly. Contributions of all sizes help to keep PITT ARTS alive for you! Please consider giving back to PITT ARTS today.

Make your gift online now and decide what you think PITT ARTS is worth to you. Thank you for your support!

Where can I find directions to the venues?

Browse directions to the venues, as well as information about bus routes and a link to a map of downtown.