On May 6, 2016, Passports: The Art Diversity Project produces the city's only interactive, multidisciplinary showcase of art, technology, ecology and performance: The Geek Art/ Green Innovators Festival (GA/GI). GA/GI is now in its 7th year as part of the "Unblurred First Fridays," series managed by the Bloomfield/Garfield Corporation.
During the festival event, galleries, restaurants and other businesses theme their events around GA/GI's
eco/tech mission, allowing for the spectrum of Unblurred arts and exhibitions to expand. The festival invites organizations, companies and eco/tech stakeholders who might not otherwise meet to network into a community arts setting where they are provided with an opportunity to do outreach and gain new perspectives as they test and experiment with their projects and programs within a vibrant public venue.
Proof of the event's impact is far reaching. One of the festival's first participants, the University of Pittsburgh's Mobile Science Lab, discovered they could reach a younger demographic than they had originally thought, and learned they were well suited for doing festivals, which up to that point they had never done. Another year, CMU's science department took up the entire top floor of the Glass Lofts, demonstrating how to make
nitro ice cream and a virgin bloody Mary, they called "a bloody shame." Other universities such as Chatam and Duquesne have benefited from the GA/GI format as well. Penn Avenue galleries, like Most Wanted Fine Art, have brought in internationally known artists.
" We have been fortunate to have nearly every college in the city involved with GA/GI in the last seven years. We've had artists who have gone on to wonderful careers, and businesses who have expanded their horizons. We make it simple to participate in the event. We'd just as soon have an unfinished project, as a finished one," said Team GA/GI Director, Christine Bethea. "It's amazing what can happen when ordinary people get to weigh-in before something is fully developed. And it's all happening with the support of the Bloomfield Garfield business community."
This year GA/GI is a key community-lead event in Pittsburgh's bicentennial, and visitors will enjoy some very unique programming. There's a collaborative installation of
eco/tech and art being hosted at the Pittsburgh Glass Center by Adam Keene of Speak Life Storytellers with dance coordinated by the Kelly Strayhorn Theater. This will also be the grand opening of the first Garfield Night Market of the season with the Pittsburgh Bonsai Society doing a pop-up event nearby. In addition, Daniel McCloskey, creator of Free Money, has done a distribution of 35,000 comics in the East End to support literacy. He will be available to show his work and his discuss his journey. Another venue, The Irma Freeman Center, continues its exhibition of sights and sounds from pre-war Syria, collected by a heavy metal rock musician.
"Every year, we find more amazing people," said Bethea. "This city just keeps getting better."
GA/GI Festival @ Unblurred on Penn is on May 6 from 6-
ll pm, located at venues between 4800-5500 Penn Avenue (Mathilda to Negley), and is produced by the Passports Art Diversity Project in partnership with the Bloomfield Garfield Corporation, The Kelly Strayhorn Theater, Pittsburgh Glass Center, Pittsburgh Technology Council and others. For more info visit gagifest7.blogspot.com