Just In Time For Arts Fest, Riverfront Space Turning Into Public Art

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — The underside of the Fort Duquesne Bridge hosted an unlikely confluence of community leaders and artists Thursday morning.

The nondescript concrete “cave” is about get a multicolored splash of off-the-wall art.

“This entire area, 900 feet of space, will become a public art space.”

Flanked by Allegheny County Executive Rich Fitzgerald, Mayor Bill Peduto announced that the Riverlife project is a public-private partnership. It coincides with the three rivers arts festival.

“This year’s festival theme is ‘Unseen and Unheard,'” said Veronica Corpuz, director of the Dollar Bank Three Rivers Arts Festival. “And no better way than to bring to light these unseen spaces, and transforming them with beauty, with inspiration, with illumination.”

An outline of towering river weeds will be produced by more than a dozen artists, led by Pittsburgh artist Kim Beck.

“Silhouettes of these large weeds will be projected onto this wall,” she explained. “The painting itself will be nine feet tall, by 900 feet long. And these large weeds will seem to grow up the wall.”

Riverlife acting director Jay Sujernek says public input comes next.

“During the Three Rivers Arts Festival, from June 6 to June 10, from eleven to three, we invite you all to come down and be part of making this mural happen. It will basically be paint-by-numbers.”

The mural of oversized weeds will reflect the feelings, and writings, of famed author Henry David Thoreau, more than a century ago.

“There’s real personality and zest for these kind of tenacious plants, and I like that,” Kim Beck adds.

The bridge piers, meanwhile, will feature 24 temporary works by young architects, envisioning uses for open spaces along the riverfront – like the site of the upcoming art project.

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