Find music, art, and giant puppet hands at the Dollar Bank Three Rivers Arts Festival | Pittsburgh City Paper

Find music, art, and giant puppet hands at the Dollar Bank Three Rivers Arts Festival

click to enlarge Find music, art, and giant puppet hands at the Dollar Bank Three Rivers Arts Festival
Photo: Courtesy of the Pittsburgh Cultural Trust
Artist Market at the Dollar Bank Three Rivers Arts Festival
Every year, it happens, and every year, Pittburghers hope it does not, once again, get rained out. The Dollar Bank Three Rivers Arts Festival returns with another robust lineup of live music, visual art, family-friendly entertainment, and food, with new expansions, partnerships, and more.

Now in its 64th year, TRAF, taking place June 2-11 throughout the Downtown Cultural District, promises big-name acts and local performers, as well as hundreds of artists showing and selling their work. This year marks the second time TRAF, which is organized by the Pittsburgh Cultural Trust, will take over the Cultural District after having to move from its original home at Point State Park.

“We learned a lot last year and are now building on the successes of our first Festival located entirely in the Cultural District,” says Sarah Aziz, director of festival management for the Trust, in a press release. “We’re excited to deliver a full spectrum of free arts and entertainment experiences in an improved layout for Pittsburgh and visitors to our community. We thank Dollar Bank and all our partners for making it possible.”

Part of that "improved layout" includes the ever-popular Artist Market now spanning both sides of Fort Duquesne Boulevard, stretching between Sixth and Ninth Streets. Organizers claim that the "adjusted footprint" will "provide more space for shoppers to circulate between booths compared to previous layouts."

This year also sees the Artist Market returning to its full scale "for the first time since before the pandemic," boasting more than 300 artists.
click to enlarge Find music, art, and giant puppet hands at the Dollar Bank Three Rivers Arts Festival
Photo: Courtesy of Red Light Management
Corinne Bailey Rae at Dollar Bank Three Rivers Arts Festival
Musical acts include Grammy Award-winning R&B artist Corinne Bailey Rae and KT Tunstall, the Scottish singer-songwriter whose hit single "Black Horse and the Cherry Tree" saw tons of radio play in the early 2000s.

National, international, and local names will also take the stage, including Michigan-based folk band Joe Hertler & The Rainbow Seekers, Swiss rockers Sweat, Argentina cumbia group Cachitas Now!, and Pittsburgh's own Liz Berlin, among many others.

Other highlights include the Giant Eagle Creativity Zone at Trust Oasis, where 20 arts organizations and community partners from throughout the region, including a few new ones for this year, will provide hands-on activities to families and kids. Film fans can check out free screenings of three captivating music documentaries, What the Hell Happened to Blood, Sweat, and Tears, Little Richard: I Am Everything, and Thelonious Monk, Rewind and Play, at Harris Theater.
click to enlarge Find music, art, and giant puppet hands at the Dollar Bank Three Rivers Arts Festival
Photo: John Altdorfer
Hand to Hand by Squonk Opera
In terms of other live entertainment, Squonk, a Pittsburgh-based company known for its large-scale, multimedia shows, presents the final performances of Hand to Hand, a touring, interactive spectacle featuring two giant puppet hands.

Crowds can view work by regional artists at Taking Up Space, the juried exhibition located in SPACE Gallery, and three "multidisciplinary public art attractions" at Backyard at 8th & Penn. The public art attractions include "Utterance" by Jim West, the Pittsburgh-based sculptor behind the famed Point of View sculpture on Mt. Washington.

A press release states that the sculpture by West, who makes his TRAF debut this year, combines bronze, steel, light, resin, and audio to explore the issue of constant noise, particularly in the age of social media.

“When I saw "Utterance," I knew it would be great to showcase at the Festival. This kind of interactive piece that artistically reflects what’s happening in the world and sparks conversation is what TRAF is all about,” says Aziz.

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