International Arts and Urban Revitalization Initiatives Bring the World to Pittsburgh

Sep 06, 2013, 13:01 ET from VisitPittsburgh

PITTSBURGH, Sept. 6, 2013 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- This fall, through three distinct events, the world will converge on Pittsburgh and art and ideas will break out of the walls of galleries, museums, theaters and universities to spread into the community. These three events combined will capture the imagination of natives and newcomers, challenge them to think big, and leave people seeing the world – and Pittsburgh – in an entirely new way. It is a month to celebrate the art of remaking a region and the role that the arts and culture play in creating a sense of place – an attribute for attracting tourism, workforce talent and business investment from around the globe.

"The region's 30-year investment in arts and culture as an economic development strategy has paid off with a thriving downtown cultural district that is a global model for urban revitalization and a citywide grassroots arts scene," says Dennis Yablonsky, CEO of the Allegheny Conference on Community Development. The Pittsburgh region hosts 493 non-profit arts and culture organizations.

It all starts on Friday, September 27, when The Rubber Duck Project, an outdoor art installation, will launch the Pittsburgh International Festival of Firsts, a project of the Pittsburgh Cultural Trust. The grand kickoff includes this friendly, giant, four-story-high rubber duck, which was designed by artist Florentijn Hofman of the Netherlands, and was made locally. For its maiden voyage on September 27, it will float down the Ohio River from the West End Bridge, circle the point, and head down the Allegheny River to a Rubber Duck Bridge Party taking place on the Roberto Clemente Bridge.

"The giant Rubber Duck is only the beginning of a terrific season that will continue to position Pittsburgh as a leader in the international arts scene," says Craig Davis, president and CEO of VisitPITTSBURGH. "These aren't everyday events, they are real blockbusters."

While the giant rubber duck will grace the river's northern tip of Point State Park until Sunday, October 20, it will set the stage for the Pittsburgh International Festival of Firsts, which promises four dizzying weeks of international artists premiering works in the Pittsburgh Cultural District that have never before seen in the U.S. Each of the featured performing and visual arts reflect a sense of place and culture far from Pittsburgh. 

Only a week after The Rubber Duck Project makes its U.S. premiere in Pittsburgh, the 2013 Carnegie International will kick off at Carnegie Museum of Art. This world-renowned exhibition will reach out across the city as well, bringing new art to Pittsburgh, and leveraging its power to speak from unexpected, unfamiliar places, underscoring the role that the arts play as a "placemaker" in Pittsburgh.   

Opening with a weekend of special events October 4-6, the 2013 Carnegie International brings together 34 artists from 19 countries, including a series of large-scale new commissions. The artwork will present new voices rooted in history, a sense of place and play. The exhibition is guided by a shared passion for the individual and the exceptional; for art that celebrates dissonance and beauty and for artworks that stay in touch with the everyday.

Curated by Daniel Baumann, Dan Byers, and Tina Kukielski, the 2013 Carnegie International is a conversation among four parts: a major exhibition of new international art, a playground, the museum's collection and an engagement with the city of Pittsburgh. Through grassroots and community relations efforts, art will emerge in unexpected places all around the city.

Finally, in October, more than 500 thought leaders from North America and Europe will convene here for the 2013 Remaking Cities Congress, with HRH Charles, Prince of Wales as honorary chair. The working meeting will focus on the future of former industrial centers, and Pittsburgh has emerged as a benchmark for success.  The city will serve as a "living laboratory" for a series of mobile workshops for global delegates. The Remaking Cities Congress is organized by the Remaking Cities Institute at Carnegie Mellon University in partnership with the American Institute of Architects.

"Major arts events like the Carnegie International and the Trust's Festival of Firsts capture the essence of Pittsburgh's new emergence – honoring our traditions while creating new, memorable experiences through the ideas of great artists – like a giant rubber duck on the Allegheny River," says Mitch Swain, CEO of Greater Pittsburgh Arts Council. "Can you imagine what's going to happen next?"

The Fall 2013 PghWOW! Collaborative – promoting upcoming significant events in the Pittsburgh region – includes these partners: Allegheny Conference on Community Development, Carnegie Museums of Art, Greater Pittsburgh Arts Council, Pittsburgh Cultural Trust and VisitPITTSBURGH.

SOURCE VisitPittsburgh