The Three Rivers Arts Festival started in 1960 with a simple plan: a couple paintings on the street, maybe some music – certainly nothing too big or flashy. Flash forward a couple decades and the Three Rivers Arts Festival is the regions largest multidisciplinary showcase of visual and performing arts. Loaded with tons of art exhibits, shows, and one of the most prestigious art shows in the nation, Three Rivers Arts Festival is certainly one of the biggest art festivals and perhaps one of the best.
To say that Arts Festival is loaded with performing arts is a bit of an understatement. Literally dozens and dozens of dance troupes, concert ensembles, and live bands play in manifolds at any given time during the festival. Encompassing multiple shows over a multitude of stages, theatres, and performing centers not only is there a little of something for everybody, but there is a good chance it can be anywhere in the city. As a nice auxiliary to the action, Arts Festival plays host to Jazz International. Jazz International is a compendium of local and national jazz artists who play in both large concert halls and makeshift stages at malls and street corners. At various theatres play over a dozen films that are mostly lecture-style documentaries but also extremely enriching.
Constantly ranked as one of the best shows in the entire nation, the art show at Arts Festival includes over 300 artists of the highest caliber. Vendors offer everything from custom jewelry and award winning photography, to ceramic art tiles and impressionist paintings. At individual booths and designated demonstration areas visitors can watch artists in motion as they craft pottery, blow glass, and paint on canvas with oils and acrylics. Around the festival are interactive exhibits either designed like mazes, or fashioned like gigantic sculpted figures on streets and in parks. Collaborative art projects like cell phone disco and the kid-friendly creativity zone are also festival gems.
Admission is free, but some events require paid tickets. Parking is downtown.