Wednesday, June 10, 2009

2009 Three Rivers Arts Festival

Three Rivers Arts Festival began on Friday June 3. The last day is Sunday June 14. Yes, it is a much shorter festival. In some ways, it is also smaller than the festivals in the past. This year, the festival guide includes a number of venues outside of the festival grounds and in the Cultural District. Missing is the juried exhibit, which was held last year in a series of shipping containers. New for this year was Three Rivers Arts Festival Gallery Co-Op, located at 901 Penn Ave. I think this a smashing idea. The venue houses a sampler of twelve Pittsburgh galleries with each gallery representing a few of their gallery artists. A full listing of the galleries is available on the festival website. There is a lot of good work hung in that one small space.

Morgan Conetemporary Glass had a piece by Paul Nelson (Teapot, right) that I thought was nice. Also, it photographed really well. I know, that's a bit of a cop out. But really, I'd rather show you a good image of a good work than a really bad image of better work. Glass is difficuklt to photograph. There were several pieces that were utterly amazing. You will jst have to go down to the venue or, better yet, actually go to Morgan Contemporary Glass.


You can see more of Jason Schorr's work at moxie DaDa. This was actually a pretty large work. I don't know as it really translates well here.


This next pairing of V. Mann's is from Boxheart.


Modern Formations brought this work by Taya Hanauer. This work reminded me so much of my good friend's, Pat Barefoot.


Okay, I am very excited about this venue idea. I think that Pittsburgh galleries are a really important part of the scene here and are the best suporters of local artists. Here's the thing that I thought was questionable. The galleries involved in this space are not allowed to make sales from this space. Let me repeat that; the. galleries. are. not. permitted. to. make. sales. I don't know who came up with this idea, BUT here it is. If a patron wishes to purchase a work, he must put his name on a list. At the end of the festival, the galleries are permitted to contact the individuals that have expressed an interest in purchasing a work and the gallery closes the sale off site. Really? Really? The chances of a gallery closing a sale after the fact like this is slim to none. That actually happened to me at one of the downtown, Cultural District, galleries. The gallery attendant collected the interested party's contact info and handed it over to me. I couldn't get past the guy's secretary. Lost the sale. Okay, excuse the mini-rant. Getting back to this venue, it is definitely a great way to showcase the city's galleries. Hopefully, with one little change, the Three Rivers Arts Festival will continue with this concept in 2010.

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The Three Rivers Arts Festival woldn't be complete without the Artist Market. There have been more booths in past festivals. That doesn't mean the quality was less; to the contrary, works on display were really good. Photography, jewelry, ceramics and leather were all well represented. And really, who doesn't like sock monkeys, penguins and Frankenstein's monster? Greg Stones (image above) feels the same way. Sweet little watercolors; his booth was just fun!

The festival continued with its Emerging Artist booths, another great idea that gives artists who might otherwise not have participated a chance to present.

First up, Kat Cole. Kat has shown her work in several exhibits in Pittsburgh and had some work in Luke & Eloy's Double Vision exhibit. It is too late to see Kate's work at the festival since June 9 was her last day. But if you get a chance, see some of her work before she leaves for graduate school. She does have work at Eastside Gallery.


Another newcomer to the festival is Crystala Armagost, an amazing artist. Check out her nearly-bare booth (below). She had a good week and sold quite a few of her framed works during the five days that she was at the festival. Unfortunately, June 9 was her last day at the festival, too. But you can catch Crystala's work out and about town, too.


I am absolutely positive that I missed some favorite artists while I was at the festival yesterday. Since it IS the Three Rivers Arts Festival, OF COURSE it rained; it comes with the territory. Some artists closed their booths during the downpour and I can't blame them. Kyle Fischer had a booth, as well as Amber Coppings. But have no fear! There is a whole new slate of artists scheduled for June 10-14. The line up looks pretty amazing. You can see representative images on the Artist Market page on the festival site. Although they provide listings by date and medium, they don't provide an alphabetized list. They do, however, have a printable booth map which will be very helpful in tracking down a favorite artist.

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Sarver's Bait and Tackle is in a category of its own. Part installation, part performance space, it is an enjoyable stop in the Cultural District.

A friend and I watched a short video piece playing in the back of the space, located at 905 Penn Ave. If you stop in to see the installation or check out a fish puppet show, make sure that you take friend into this little two-seat theater to see the video. We giggled like mad women. You can find out more about the activities scheduled at Sarver''s Bait and Tackle on the festival site.

For a full schedule of festival events, check out their website.

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