It’s that time of year in Pittsburgh when you can’t possibly complain there is nothing to do. Each year the Three Rivers Arts Festival takes over downtown and provides ten days of non-stop art and music for our enjoyment, and it’s all FREE! This year the fountain at the Point will be re-opening, returning the festival to its full former glory of engulfing all of Point State Park. If you ask us, there’s no better way to spend a summer day, surrounded by artists and musicians, with the immaculate Pittsburgh skyline, the green rolling hills, and of course the three rivers as a backdrop. With 10 days of non-stop concerts and activities, figuring out your plan of attack may seem daunting. We have you covered with our must-see list for this year’s Three Rivers Arts Festival.
First things first, here are the nitty gritty details:
The festival takes place June 7th through the 16th, from 12pm to 8pm each day. Most activities take place in Point State Park, with the artists markets in Gateway Center and various other events happening throughout the Cultural District. Don’t forget the Pittsburgh JazzLive International Festival overlaps with the Arts Festival June 7th-9th, and the Pittsburgh Pride Festival goes down June 14th-16th. Be sure you check out the Riverlights at the Point event on the opening night of the festival, where they are officially re-opening the fountain followed by the “Pittsburgh: Spectral Ascending” laser projection show.
Every Spring we all eagerly wait for the festival’s free concert lineup. In the past we’ve checked out everyone from Sonic Youth to The Black Keys, all for free in front of our epic city skyline. There’s a show every night at the Dollar Bank Stage in Point State Park. Some notable, not to miss ones include:
- Local favorites Donora on June 7th at 6:15pm followed by Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros at 7:30pm
- Cello Fury with Joy Ike and Scott Baseley of the Clarks on Sunday June 9th at 7:30pm
- Blast from the past, Karl Hendrix Trio on June 13 at 12pm
- The Airborne Toxic Event on June 15th at 8pm
You can check out the full concert line up HERE.
It’s not an arts festival without a wellspring of diverse art. Art to buy, art to experience, art to contemplate and enjoy. If you’re looking to expand your art collection, or perhaps find some handmade jewelry, you’ll need to check out the artist market. Housed mainly in Gateway Center, it features over 300 artists selling handmade, one-of-a-kind pieces of art in every medium imaginable. Here are some exhibitions and public arts pieces we recommend you seek out:
- Abstract Jazz Works should prove entertaining. It will combine the improvisational elements of jazz by having an internationally-renowned abstract expressionist artist create paintings to live jazz music. All the details can be found here.
- Another exhibit that piques our interest is Inventory: The Orgone Archive. “This exhibition will showcase a decade’s worth of promotion and propaganda in the form of posters, stickers and bits of paper created by The Orgone Archive for its cinema outings.” It’s taking place at Future Tenant, with an opening reception June 7th, 7-10pm.
- Looking for something a bit more experiential? Check out On the Glass Surface at SPACE Gallery. Described as, “Working with icons from personal history and memory, Thad Kellstadt strings together video, installation and sound to create a haunted paradise on the border of fracture and utopia.”
- One thing we can’t wait for is the public art piece, Floating Echo. Keep your eyes peeled for this transparent inflatable statue of Buddha sitting in lotus on the water. OM!
- The Cell Phone Disco will be in full effect as well. This large-scale light project artfully visualizes the electromagnetic field of an active mobile phone. Sweet!
- The talented and inspiring Vanessa German, will be bringing her transformational Art House program to the festival. The Art House, which started as Love Front Porch, is an uplifting project aimed at overcoming the violence of the Homewood neighborhood by engaging the community with art.
- And if you want to be sure you don’t miss any of the public art take the Pittsburgh Art in Public Places: Downtown Walking Tour.
Feel like getting your hands dirty and making your own art? Check out all of the hands-on activities here.
PERFORMING ARTS Last but not least, you’ll definitely want to check out some of the theater and dance companies during the festival. A full list is available here, including performances by Pockets on Empty breakdancing collective, the Silkscreen: Asian Arts Organization, kNOT Dance and Continuum Dance Theater.
If you’d like to support keeping the festival free, go here to donate to the cause. We wouldn’t have this artistic extravaganza without the support of donators and funders.