I first started attending Pittsburgh’s Three Rivers Arts Festival in the ’70s after I got out of the service. For years I had this dream of exhibiting there with my own booth. I finally tried in 1986, but was rejected. Then in 1987 I finally made the cut and I felt I made the “big time”. I don’t recall how much money I made at that time, but it must have been enough to keep bringing me back. I did it for five years straight, and then on and off ever since, for a total of about a dozen times. I believe the last time I exhibited was in 2007. On years that we do not exhibit, Chris and I still try to visit the festival at least twice, since artists change every so many days.
I have always had a romantic relationship with TRAF. I love the urban environment! I must admit, set up and tear down in the heart of Pittsburgh is not for wimps. It is a real grind! The weather can be a factor, especially with wind. The tall buildings in Gateway Center create a manmade canyon that somehow increases (or so it seems) the power of wind during a storm. I feel fortunate regarding my own history with the downtown wind, but I have seen entire booths get swept up and dumped onto Liberty Avenue.
We saw some changes this year. The addition of a weekend portion of the artist market on a closed Liberty Avenue was, in my opinion, excellent. Plus, it gave Chris and I a chance to see the new T Station. I also feel that the Gateway Plaza portion of the Artist Market was less congested then in years past. However, there is always going to be some heavy pedestrian traffic in the market area during the peak hours on the weekends.
Chris and I did not exhibit this year, but we did visit and had a great day! We were especially excited to see Victoria Lavorini, who with her boyfriend Seth Miller, was exhibiting at TRAF for the very first time. Both Victoria and Seth were former students of mine at West Liberty University. Her edgy, energetic work was a wonderful addition to the festival. Below are some photos of our day!