Pop Filter Hot Pick: Three Rivers Arts Festival in full bloom Downtown
Where can you experience giant 3-D art installations that spill into Downtown buildings, catch a free show by the Grammy Award-winning trio Carolina Chocolate Drops, create a collaborative painting, and experience a multimedia theatrical happening on the back of a flat-bed truck?
June is synonymous with summer in the city, and the place to kick off a creative season is at the Downtown-based Three Rivers Arts Festival
, the free citywide venue that opens minds and the city's streets up to art of all ilks.
Now that the pounding rain and unseasonable Autumnal temps are out of the way, it's time to meander through Point State Park, Hertz Gateway Center and the Cultural District
to experience engaging visual art, live music, festive fare, eco-tips, and family-friendly art-making activities. Born five decades ago as the “little outdoor art show” outside of Carnegie Institute, TRAF is now the region’s largest multidisciplinary showcase of visual and performing arts.
Ongoing through June 10th, the 53rd Annual Dollar Bank Three Rivers Arts Festival
draws hundreds of thousands of local and regional visitors for nearly 100 distinct programs, including headliner performances by nationally-recognized acts, juried art exhibitions, and its signature al fresco Artist Market. And of course, it wouldn't be TRAF without that tasty treat known as chicken on a stick!
What's new for number 53?
Festival highlights include the return of the renowned Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra led by Manfred Honeck, the unveiling of a dazzling new show by homegrown performance company Squonk Opera, the premiere of Bluegrass Day, a bigger-than-ever Artist Market, and innovative eco-initiatives.
Not to be missed is the festival's premiere of Bluegrass Day on June 9th. Featuring a trio of distinguished bluegrass bands, including the Del McCoury Band, Peter Rowan Bluegrass Band and Greensky Bluegrass, the impressive lineup of legendary players will share the unique sound of a truly distinct American genre of music. Joining the all-stars for the celebration will be local and regional bluegrass musicians, such as the Mon River Ramblers and Midnight Drive, appearing on Second Stage located in Hertz Gateway Center.
Make art, buy local
Looking for a one-of-a-kind wedding gift for that creative couple in your life, or a handmade keepsake for dad this Father's Day?
Expanding its Downtown footprint, this year's signature Artist Market features more than 300 artists, with booths open every day during the festival. Booths have also been added along the Penn Ave. extension near Hertz Gateway Center. New upgrades to Gateway Center's plaza area allow for increased public browsing and artist booth space.
A highly anticipated festival anchor, the market features carefully selected vendors, whose applications were reviewed by a distinguished panel. Featuring handmade fine art and crafts that are available for purchase, the 2012 market received a record number of artist applications.
This year's Juried Visual Arts Exhibition showcases the region’s talented creative community. TRAF received hundreds of entries across the spectrum of visual arts forms, from which a jury panel of professional curators selected 61 works by 46 artists, all featured in an exhibition designed by local gallery MoxieDaDA.
The 2012 Juried Visual Arts winners include: W. Kramm's “String Chair” (Best in Show); Ron Hollingshead's “Backboard” (Juror’s Choice); Jason Lee's “Euthenic Device: Canopy” (Juror’s Choice); and Elizabeth Plakidas and Alison Terndrup's “Collaboration 4″ (Juror's Choice). Most of the works displayed in the exhibition are available for sale.
Ready to get creative? The family that makes art together stays together! Smock or no smock, roll up those sleeves and visit the festival's array of artist demos and hands-on activities. This year, local arts education nonprofit Gateway to the Arts is hosting comprehensive weekend attractions in three separate tents located in the Giant Eagle Creativity Zone.
Swing by the special main stage, storytime tent and art making tent to enjoy educational shows for all ages that feature everything from culturally-diverse music performances and storytelling sessions, to collaborative painting projects.
Music under the stars
Grab that blanket, gather the clan and reserve these cozy June nights for TRAF's many free lunchtime and evening concerts, where there's a sound for every music fan.
Tonight the festival welcomes acclaimed vocalist, songwriter, and bassist Timothy B. Schmit, known for his work as a member of The Eagles and Poco, who will perform music from his fifth solo album. Also featured is the talented Pittsburgh-based alt-country group, City Dwelling Nature Seekers.
Los Angeles-based singer-songwriter LP (aka Laura Pergolizzi) will heat up TRAF's main stage on June 7th with her graceful vocal and exuberant ukulele stylings, all accompanied by her dynamic and versatile band. Also on the bill is internationally renowned singer-songwriter Jonathan Richman, who fronted the highly influential 1970s band, The Modern Lovers. With a fiercely devoted cult following that has gained new fans over many decades, Richman remains a rare and authentic voice in the underground music scene. And if we're lucky, maybe he'll play his soothing pop number, "That Summer Feeling."
Kick off a weekend of al fresco music with the inimitable Carolina Chocolate Drops, who appear on June 8th. Wielding an old-time fiddle and banjo, the Grammy Award-winning trio promise to deliver a passionate performance of their spirited and authentic music.
Headlining the festival on June 10th is Bruce Hornsby and The Noisemakers. The vibrant brand is headed up by the Grammy Award-winning American singer, pianist, accordion player, and songwriter Bruce Hornsby, who is known for uplifting crowds with spontaneous live performances that reflect his love of everything from blues, jazz and folk, to Motown, jam rock and classical.
Go green, artfully
For its 53rd installment, TRAF has stepped up its sustainable practices, earning the festival a GOLD level accreditation with Pennsylvania Resources Council’s Zero Waste Pittsburgh initiative. The festival's world-class composting and recycling system--one of the first and largest of its kind in the country--helps divert more than 80% of trash from landfills annually, while its free bicycle valet service and water stations encourage public transportation use and the refilling of personal containers.
New this year is the festival's Green Machine, and on-site real-time indicator of attendees’ eco efforts. The Green Machine also serves as an engaging educational center, where festival-goers can learn more about personal and public environmental responsibility via interactive games that reinforce the importance of eco-stewardship. A walk-through area features a diversion counter, which visually illustrates the amount of waste diverted (i.e. bottles not used because of free water dispensed, volume of composted materials and volume of recycled materials) from landfills.
The festival's 3Rs project (aka The Art of Reuse, Recycle, and Repurpose!) demonstrates the convergence of art and sustainability. The unique project challenges artists to reimagine waste management receptacles as creative canvases for reclaimed materials. The originality and boldness of the completed designs helps to raise awareness about the benefits of recycling and composting, which is further explained by TRAF's on-site "Green Team" educators. Be sure to look for the vibrant receptacles throughout the festival footprint!
How can paddling along the rivers encourage eco-stewardship? ?During Paddle Without Pollution--a special clean-up event of Pittsburgh’s three rivers set for Jun 9th--a watershed stewardship initiative will tackle the litter and debris that degrade the rivers, streams and lakes of Southwestern Pennsylvania. This innovative approach--uses kayaks, canoes and non-motorized boats to reach otherwise unreachable debris while remaining sensitive to the environment--is expected to remove up to 10 tons of garbage from local rivers, lakes and streams in 2012 alone. Want to paddle your way to a cleaner river? Register now
View a complete festival schedule
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