In a press release, the Pittsburgh Cultural Trust announced that the organization can no longer utilize the park for the free 10-day arts celebration, and will instead move the event entirely to the Downtown Cultural District in 2022. The decision comes after the Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources reduced the number of days that big events can take place in the park.
The 2022 festival, set to take place from June 3-12, will be centered around a pop-up park and stage at Eighth and Penn avenues. A press release adds that "signature components" of the Arts Fest will remain intact, including live music at the Dollar Bank Mainstage, an Artist Market featuring more than 300 shops and sellers, and public art, as well as visual art shows at the Trust Downtown galleries.
"Pittsburgh is the prime example of a comeback city — over 35 years, the Pittsburgh Cultural Trust has shown how arts can be used as a tool for urban revitalization," says Trust president and CEO Kevin McMahon. "Our return to in-person arts events last year after an 18-month shutdown furthered this revitalization and we are excited for our beloved Festival to continue this trend. While we will miss the iconic setting of Point State Park, we are also excited to further showcase our beautiful, world-renowned Cultural District.”
The festival's music headliners will be announced on April 20, and the remaining lineup of local and regional artists will be revealed in May.
Wesley Robinson serves as the press secretary for Pennsylvania's Department of Conservation and Natural Resources and says that starting back in fall 2021, the department started looking at ways to better maintain parks, especially ones that host large events.
"After the return of all of the outdoor events in 2021, there was a recognition that we were unable to keep up the rigorous schedule of having events back to back to back at the park," says Robinson. He adds that this especially applies to Point State Park, as it's one of the few state parks that host large, multiple-week events.
The Trust estimates that, in any given year, the in-person Arts Fest attracts nearly 500,000 visitors, which could justifiably result in wear and tear on the park's grassy areas, as well as the need for garbage pick-up and other maintenance.
Robinson says a steering group of local leaders and city officials, park users, and others decided it would be best to "limit the length of events at park to make sure it provided the best experience to all of the users of the park."
As a result, events at Point State Park can go for up to a week, and a break of five days should be allowed in between events for clean-up.
"It's really just a policy to help the health of the park," says Robinson.