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Penn Hills Arts Festival adds children's poster contest

Patrick Varine
| Wednesday, June 19, 2013, 9:00 p.m.
Above, Penn Hills Arts Council President Janice Pfeifer at the 2012 Penn Hills Arts Festival. This year's festival will take place July 19 and 20 at the William E. Anderson Library of Penn Hills.
Aaron Lougher | For the Penn Hills Progress
Above, Penn Hills Arts Council President Janice Pfeifer at the 2012 Penn Hills Arts Festival. This year's festival will take place July 19 and 20 at the William E. Anderson Library of Penn Hills.

Deb Hardy of Penn Hills was taking in the exhibits at the 2010 Penn Hills Arts Festival, which she helped to organize, when she had a reaction she hopes is common at the annual artists' showcase.

“A Level Green artist, Linda Agate, brought a piece up to exhibit, a beautiful portico looking out onto the Mediterranean. It's a classic Italian villa type of piece. As soon as I saw it, I said, ‘I have to have this,'” she said.

This year's festival will take place July 19 and 20 at the William E. Anderson Library of Penn Hills.

In addition to displays by adult artists from the region, the festival will have a new feature: a children's poster contest organized by Penn Hills Planning Director Howard Davidson.

“I brought it up when I was talking with members of the Penn Hills Arts Council,” Davidson said. “When the festival is going on, we have activities at the library like arts and crafts, and we have trouble getting kids to show up and participate. They're either walking around looking at the art with their parents or doing other stuff.”

The contest is open to children ages 6 to 14 with library cards. They can register at the library and receive a canvas.

Davidson said children will be asked to illustrate the theme, “Penn Hills Community.”

There is no entry fee. Prizes will be awarded in age categories, and the deadline for entries is July 16.

“We're trying to get started ahead of time and promote the arts,” he said,

“And then if kids get interested in the contest, they'll come back on July 19 and 20 to see the display.”

Penn Hills Arts Council members will judge the children's poster contest.

In addition to the contest, Davidson also is bringing his love of music back, with local singer-songwriters who will perform throughout the festival.

This year's lineup includes Erin Burkett, James Hovan, Chuck Beatty, Jenny Morgan, the Breadline Preachers and Davidson's informal bluegrass band.

“I like expanding what the library's all about, making it more than just the library,” Davidson said.

“It gives some of my friends and local songwriters a chance to perform.”

Davidson also has a passion for photography and has won his share of blue ribbons at the festival in that category.

Arts council President Jan Pfeifer said she looks forward to the festival every year.

“I enjoy the variety of the people,” she said. “I love talking with people and kids, letting them know about art and what they can do.”

Hardy said watching the run-up to the festival opening always is a good time.

“It's always such a madhouse the night before, because everyone's bringing their art up and we're hanging it and it's just kind of a rush of energy,” she said.

“These artists are very proud of what they bring to us, and we're very proud to display it.”

Patrick Varine is an editor for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-320-7845 or

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