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PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — The Dollar Bank “Three Rivers Arts Festival” begins Friday, June 1, and runs for 10 days, bringing visual artists, musicians, dancers and more to downtown Pittsburgh.

The festival began in 1958 with the Carnegie Museum of Art’s Women’s Committee.

“They were tasked with taking the art out of the museum and to the people, so that people know that art isn’t some sort of esoteric highbrow thing that’s only for certain people… that it is really for everyone,” says Sarah Aziz, director of the festival for the Pittsburgh Cultural Trust.

threeriversartsfestival 2014 Kidsburgh: Tips To Make The Arts Festival Fun With Kids

(Photo Credit: KDKA)

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That’s why the arts festival is a perfect place to introduce children to art, in a place more comfortable for them than a museum. The artists’ booths in Point State Park and Gateway Center give kids a chance to see art up close, ask the artist questions and make a connection. “When you meet an artist and see them working and see their work and you see how (they make it), you see that they’re people just like us,” Aziz says.

Sometimes, the crowd of people at the festival can keep families away, but it doesn’t have to.

Here are some tips on how to make the festival fun with kids in tow:

  • Parking can sometimes be a hassle, so the key is to plan ahead. You can park at the Carnegie Science Center for $5 and take the T right into downtown, or if you live south of the city, you can take the T all the way in. If you really want convenience, you can park downtown, but use the “ParkPGH” app that will tell you what spaces are open in real time and the prices.
  • You’ll definitely want to visit the Giant Eagle Creativity Zone, for all 10 days in Point State Park, and on weekends, a second one on Penn Avenue. Kids can create art, including making a pot on a wheel, making a mini-art installation with the Matress Factory, and using nature to create art.
  • If you’re looking for the bathrooms, the portable toilets are right on the other side of the bridge through Point State Park. There’s even a new portable bathroom for families with toddlers.
  • If you need a place to change a diaper or you want to nurse, the Anthropology of Motherhood is a place to do both, and it’s an art installation. That’s inside the Wyndham Hotel which is across the street from Point State Park.
  • At Gateway Center is where you’ll find most of the artists’ booths, but when your kids get hot and tired, or maybe it rains, a great place to get some shelter and air conditioning is Fifth Avenue Place. They even have a Food Court that’s open until 5 p.m. on weekdays and Saturdays until 3 p.m. If you want a sit-down restaurant, Market Square has several kid-friendly options.
  • The best times to visit the arts festival with kids, when the crowds are smaller, are weekday afternoons, after the lunch crowd clears out. On weekends, come right at noon when the festival opens.
  • Be sure to pack sunscreen and a poncho and wear comfortable shoes.

For more information, visit Kidsburgh’s “family guide to Three Rivers Arts Festival – from infants to teens” at this link!