A Peek at the 2015 Three Rivers Arts Festival

Published On June 1, 2015 | By Hannah Gloeckl | The Arts
Feature-TRAF-PSA Unsenic by Carol Skinger

Photo Credit: Pittsburgh Society of Artists; Unscenic? by Carol Skinger

After 55 years, the Dollar Bank Three Rivers Arts Festival continues to grow its reputation as a leader in showcasing the Pittsburgh community, the arts, and musical performances. Since its inception in 1960, TRAF has grown from a “little outdoor art show” to become one of the largest and most celebrated arts festivals on the planet. (Not to mention, it’s one hundred percent free to attend!)

Kicking off on June 5 and running through June 14, the 56th annual TRAF features 10 days of live performances, art exhibits, special events, a visual artist market, and more for over 500,000 expected attendees. This year’s music lineup will highlight a handful of regarded local talent such as Donora, Wreck Loose, Jasiri X, The Commonheart, and Phat Man Dee, as well as national headlining acts including Jenny Lewis, Alvvays, and Milo Greene.

In addition to the revered music acts and annual festival staples, TRAF will also feature several exciting new exhibits and events to explore this summer. Read up on what’s happening below:

Yellow Couch Sessions Live! 

This year, TRAF has partnered with Yellow Couch Studio and their web series, Yellow Couch Sessions Live!, to present a fresh outlook on music and art collabs at the Dollar Bank Main Stage.

Feature-TRAF-Yellow Couch

Photo Cred: Pittsburgh Cultural Trust

Yellow Couch Studio currently showcases musical artists through a behind-the-scenes recording session, allowing listeners and viewers to get to know the artists on a more in-depth, personal level. During the event, Yellow Couch Studio’s owner and producer Steven Foxbury will work to create a pop-up space with an aesthetic that inspires the performing artists while they record. The performance will utilize sophisticated production equipment provided by Empire Music and Peluso Microphone Lab, and Foxbury will be aided in the production by the design team from Pittsburgh-based staging company, Abode.

Not able to catch the performance live? Festival attendees can check out the backstage sessions on Yellow Couch Studio’s website during the festival and on the Pittsburgh Cultural Trust’s Vimeo webpage after the festival ends.

Unwind and Dine at Eddie Merlot’s

Those looking for a more culinary experience to round out their day should take time to check out Eddie Merlot’s new “Unwind and Dine” event on June 11 at 5:30PM.

Feature-TRAF-Eddie Merlot

Photo Cred: Eddie Merlot’s

Tickets ($135) include four themed food stations (Red, White, Pink, & Bubbles), and each will be paired with a wine, a featured craft cocktail, and an “off-menu” experience curated by Chef Terry Davidson. Guests will also have access to a reserved seating concert by musical artist Rhiannon Giddens at Point State Park, receive a free copy of Giddens’ new album, “Tomorrow Is My Turn,” and a limited edition “Unseen/Unheard” artist print.

CREate Festival

Join creators, innovators, and top industry leaders as technology, business, and prolific ideas intersect at CREate Festival – a three-day workshop happening June 10-12. The event will feature acts and keynote speakers spanning across a wide range of topics within the creative industry, including gaming, design, fine art, robotics, music, film, and much more. The goal of CREate Fest is to become inspired, make connections, and discover opportunities for future business endeavors on the horizon – artists, inventors, entrepreneurs, geeks, and investors alike are encouraged to attend.

CREate kicks off with an opening party at SPACE Gallery (812 Liberty Ave. Pittsburgh, Pa.) and Wood Street Gallery (601 Wood St. Pittsburgh, Pa.), and features speakers from CEOs for Cities, a national network of urban leaders focused on making our city more connected. Admission includes a drink ticket and light hors d’oeuvres in addition to accessing both galleries during the walking art exhibition tour.

Lost & Found Factory Bulb


Photo Cred: TRAF

It’s no secret that we’ve all lost something of great sentimental value or worth to us at least once in our lives. Attendees are invited to attend the Lost & Found Factory during TRAF and share their story of an item they lost that meant something to them. In direct correlation with this year’s “Unseen/Unheard” theme, an artist-worker will then take time to record descriptions of the lost items, remake them, display them, and finally redistribute them to their original owners. As the project unfolds over the course of the festival, the images of the recreated ‘found’ objects will be documented alongside their stories online.

The Lost & Found Factory will take place in Gateway Four Plaza at Gateway Center, and a full list of dates/times of the exhibit can be found here.

Pittsburgh Society of Artists’ Intr(au)spective Exhibition

TRAF organizers are helping the Pittsburgh Society of Artists celebrate their 50-year anniversary by collaborating on a new exhibition. Entitled “Intr(au)spective,” and in honor of the society’s Golden Anniversary, the exhibition reflects the festival’s theme of “Unseen/Unheard.”

Juried by Freyda Spira, the Associate Curator in the Department of Drawings and Prints at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, the exhibit showcases 34 pieces by 30 artists. Three of the exhibit pieces also received Jurors Awards, including Carol Skinger’s “Unscenic?”; Martha Skarlinski’s “Unsee”; and Christine Lorenz’s “Untitled (Salt 0806).

The exhibit can be viewed June 5-14 from noon to 8PM each day at 937 Gallery (937 Liberty Ave. Pittsburgh, Pa.) and includes an opening reception on June 5 from 5:30-7:30PM.

Open Community Drum Circledrm

Three Rivers Thunder and Circle in the Square invite drummers, musicians, dancers, jammers, spinners, hoopers, and percussionists to gather at the Point State Park Amphitheater on Sunday, June 7 from 2-8PM for a massive open drum session. Both newbies and experienced drummers are encouraged to attend, and visitors are welcome to bring snacks, seats, cushions, instruments, and shoes to dance comfortably in. Visitors are encouraged to clean up properly upon leaving the venue, as the organizers are hoping to grow and expand upon the gathering at future TRAFs.

Whether you’re a music worshiper, an art lover, or a foodie, this year’s edition of the Three Rivers Arts Festival features something for everyone. Check out the full schedule online and make sure to mark time off on your calendar to explore the creative ambiance of our great city.

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