Three Rivers Arts Festival announces theme, entertainment for 10-day event

| Monday, April 29, 2013, 10:20 p.m.

The 54th annual Dollar Bank Three Rivers Arts Festival will open with a splashy display of water, light and sound.

On June 7, “Riverlights at The Point” will kick off the 10-day arts event with the reopening of the fountain in Point State Park, a laser-light show projecting a rainbow of colored lights on its 200-foot-tall water spout and a concert featuring Edward Sharpe and The Magic Zeros.

The celebration marks the conclusion of Point State Park's $35 million renovation that began with planning in 2001. The fountain last flowed skyward in 2009.

“I'm thrilled,” says Kevin McMahon, president and CEO of the Pittsburgh Cultural Trust, which produces the festival. “The opening day of the festival and the grand opening of the fountain is a wonderful combination of things. … It's another indication of how Pittsburgh works together collaboratively and how important the arts festival is.”

The fountain has been restored to more than its glory, says Lisa Schroeder, president and CEO of Riverlife, which is collaborating with the Pittsburgh Cultural Trust and the Department of Conservation on the opening-day celebration.

Surrounding the renovated national historic landmark will be a zero-edge pool of water and a granite seating area. “LED lighting will give a spectacular clarity to the water,” Schroeder says.

From June 7 to 9, the fountain will have an additional attraction.

As soon as it's dark, an installation designed especially for Pittsburgh by Lightwave International will project six laser beams from the top of PPG Place to the top of the fountain. The display will be visible from Mt. Washington and many other vantage points around the city, Schroeder says.

The return of the fountain is just one of the many events planned for the festival that runs through June 16 in locations throughout the Downtown area.

“We believe that art matters and we envision the festival as a safe place for the open exchange of creativity and dialogue, ideas and participation says Veronica Corpuz, director of festival management and special projects for the Trust.

The headline acts at the Dollar Bank stage in Point Stage Park include:

June 7: Edward Sharpe and The Magnetic Zeros.

June 8: Bluegrass legend Ralph Stanley.

June 9: WYEP Regional Showcase with Cello Fury, Joy Ike and Scott Blasey of the Clarks.

June 10: Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra and Pittsburgh Opera resident artists Jasmine Muhammed and Kyle Oliver in a concert that kicks off the Pittsburgh Opera's 75th anniversary.

June 11: Grupo Fantasma, Grammy award-winning Latin funk band.

June 12: Glen Hansard, songwriter from The Swell Season and The Frames.

June 13: Lucius, Indie-Pop band.

June 14: World Music Day with Red Baraat.

June 15: The Airborne Toxic Event, Indie-Rock band.

June 16: Gospel legends Blind Boys of Alabama.

Other events planned for the festival are:

• “Floating Echo” by Korean-born visual artist Chang-Jin Lee, which features a transparent, inflated Buddha floating on a pond that was commissioned by Socrates Sculpture Park in Manhattan.

• “Art House” by Pittsburgh performer, poet and visual artist Vanessa German, which will offer an interactive art project that encourages festival attendees to create take-home yard “signs of goodness.”

• “The Drift,” a floating platform, constructed by seven artists from Carnegie Mellon University, will serve as a home for creative projects that explore rivers and waterfronts.

• The Juried Visual Art Exhibition will showcase works large and small created by 36 area artists in the Trust Arts Education Center, 805-807 Liberty Ave.

• More than 300 artists and craft people will display and sell their jewelry, paintings, ceramics, glass objects and other works in the Artists' Market from noon to 8 p.m. daily. Booths will be located throughout Point State Park and Gateway Center with additional artists' works available along Penn Avenue on weekends.

Alice T. Carter is a features writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 412-320-7808 or

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