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Three Rivers Arts Festival outlines 10 days of activities |
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Three Rivers Arts Festival outlines 10 days of activities

Nate Smallwood | Trib Total Media
Aaron Reed, 32, of Atlanta sketches on Sunday, June 14, 2015, in his booth at the Three Rivers Arts Festival, Downtown.

It’s easy to forget, since it’s been going on for so many years, but the Three Rivers Arts Festival is unique.

There’s also quite a bit more to it than live music, deep-fried food and the inevitable cloudburst.

And it keeps getting bigger, if not longer (it’s still 10 days, instead of two weeks). The Three Rivers Arts Festival returns, rain or shine, June 3 to 12.

“Every year, the Cultural District attracts just as many people as all of our local sports teams combined,” said Shaunda Miles of the Pittsburgh Cultural Trust, which programs the festival.

On Monday, the Trust detailed everything happening at the Three Rivers Arts Festival, other than the music, which had been announced previously.

The juried Visual Arts Exhibition draws its submissions primarily from a 150-mile radius of Pittsburgh, and features a number of nationally prominent artists, as well as the 2016 Emerging Artists, such as Nathan Doverspike of New Kensington. He makes murals and illustrations that are densely packed with detail in a process similar to comic book illustration.

There will be more than 400 artists in the Artists Market, of course, and several large-scale installations scattered throughout Downtown.

There will be a special Sensory-Friendly Breakout Area, an art exhibit specially designed for those on the autism spectrum. There also will be a special Feeding Room for nursing mothers and those with small children, with art curated by Fran Flaherty (and by other mothers), where mothers can cool off and rest.

The CREATE Festival, which looks at the intersection of art, design and technology, has added its programming to the Three Rivers Arts Festival. The main CREATE event will be June 9 at the Fairmont Pittsburgh, including a number of TED-type talk symposia, demonstrations, an “Innovation Salon,” workshops and an awards ceremony.

The popularity of food trucks at previous festivals has been duly noted, and a rotating selection will be on hand not just on Fridays, but on the weekends as well.

The Giant Eagle Creativity Zone in front of the Fort Pitt Museum in Point State Park will have children’s art activities, hosted by Assemble and the Children’s Museum of Pittsburgh.

Musical guests will include upbeat live-band hip-hop Michael Franti & Spearhead on June 3, bluegrass stalwarts David Grisman Sextet on June 5, retro-soul giant Charles Bradley & His Extraordinaires on June 8, critically acclaimed singer/songwriter Beth Orton June 9, and pop-rockers Guster on June 10.

For classical music fans, the Pittsburgh Symphony will make its customary appearance on June 11, and the Mendelssohn Choir and Steve Hackman will perform on June 6.

Michael Machosky is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach him at or 412-320-7901.

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