Pittsburgh Arts Venues Attract National and International Conferences

Pittsburgh's transformation has made it a destination of choice for art groups re-imagining the city's vibrancy and reaffirming that Pittsburgh is Art!

PITTSBURGH – Pittsburgh, a community that built a comeback on a strategy linking the arts to economic development, is preparing for its 15 minutes of fame… Or, rather, a year in the national spotlight, courtesy of its thriving arts industry. Five major art and museum conferences, plus two significant exhibitions, are converging in the region between April 2013 and January 2014. Arts organizations and numerous partners are collaborating to spread the word through a collaborative campaign called "Pittsburgh is Art 2013." The collaborative initiative is the foundation of a year-long effort to invite people around the world to take another look at America's foremost comeback city and see first-hand how it has been re-imagined over the course of a generation.

"Pittsburgh has achieved global recognition as an arts leader," said Mitch Swain, CEO of the Greater Pittsburgh Arts council, which represents the Pittsburgh region's thriving arts community. "The conferences on tap for next year didn’t just randomly find their way here, although it may be coincidental that they all showed up at the same time. It's an indication that the community"s long-term investment in the arts is paying dividends in terms of awareness and visitor dollars."

The "Pittsburgh is Art 2013" initiative is spearheaded by the Greater Pittsburgh Arts Council, with support from VisitPittsburgh, the Allegheny Conference on Community Development and numerous other partners. 4,500+ conference attendees from across the country and around the world will be introduced to the Pittsburgh region's vibrant arts scene, and to the creativity and collaborative spirit involving business, government, foundations and non-profits that has made and is making it happen.

Pittsburgh's industrial roots laid the groundwork for the city's reinvention. Generations of philanthropists, the beneficiaries of the region's industrial past, have invested in the arts for decades – from the establishment of the Carnegie Museums a century ago to the creation of the Cultural District and the Pittsburgh Cultural Trust in the late 1970s and 1980s, and the implementation of the Allegheny Regional Asset District in the early 1990s, viewed as a national model for regional stewardship of important regional assets, including arts.

"The recognition that Pittsburgh is receiving for the transformation of our city from a rust belt to a vibrant, desirable destination has provided our cultural assets with the credibility they need to attract major conferences here," says Craig Davis, president and CEO of VisitPittsburgh. "These conferences will translate to tens of millions of dollars in direct spending in the region, but just as important, they demonstrate to the world that our city is a culturally enriching place to live, work and play."

Visitors to Pittsburgh and natives alike will have numerous opportunities to experience and enjoy the arts, as attendees at national conferences and as participants in events, festivals and exhibits:

Pittsburgh is Art 2013-2014

  • Association of Children’s Museums Annual Conference – April 30 to May 2, 2013
  • National Cartoonist Society Conference and Reuben Awards – May 24 to May 26, 2013
  • Dollar Bank Three Rivers Arts Festival – June 7 to June 16, 2013
  • Americans for the Arts Annual Convention (and pre-conferences) – June 13 to June 16, 2013
  • American Musicological Society Annual Meeting – November 7 to November 10, 2013
  • 2013 Carnegie International – October 5, 2013 to March 16, 2014
  • International Performing Arts for Youth Showcase – January 2014

The Children's Museum of Pittsburgh will host the Association of Children's Museums Annual InterActivity Conference in late April 2013. The conference theme is "Re-imagining Children's Museums," attracting approximately 800 leaders, professionals, students and individuals from across the nation. It will focus on the intersection of informal learning, community-building, early-childhood development, art, multicultural understanding and design to explore what it means to experience a children's museum in the 21st century.

Joe Wos, president and founder of Toonseum, one of only two cartoon museums in the country will host the National Cartoonist Society Conference and Reuben Awards in May. "The Reuben Awards are equivalent to the Oscars in the cartoon and comic industry," says Wos. More than 400 comic-strip, animation, cartoon and comic-book artists, some of them true living legends, will convene in Pittsburgh. The conference will also feature a Saturday public comic arts festival with book signings, appearances, lectures, and workshops by some of the nation’s top cartoonists. The city will burst with creativity and culture in June, starting with the Dollar Bank Three Rivers Arts Festival, June 7-16, which will open with the re-dedication of Pittsburgh's restored and iconic fountain in Point State Park, a symbol of the region's transformation.

Americans for the Arts comes to town for its Annual Convention and three pre-conferences, co-hosted by the Greater Pittsburgh Arts Council and Office of Public Art. Pre-conferences focused on Public Art, Emerging Leaders and Cultural Districts will run June 13 to 14. The main convention will be held June 14-16. Collectively, they will attract approximately 1,400 arts leaders from around the country who will gather to discuss issues affecting artists, arts-based community development, arts organizations and creative industries. This specialized programming attracts a diverse range of professionals including artists, arts administrators, elected leaders, funders, activists, journalists, educators, economic developers, urban planners and architects. The pre-conferences and convention will highlight greater Pittsburgh's artists and vibrant cultural assets and provide professional education and networking opportunities to convention delegates.

Then, from November 7-10, 2013, The American Musicological Society's 2013 Annual Meeting will take place at the Wyndham Grand Pittsburgh Downtown. This is the largest meeting of people interested in music history and appreciation to be held in the world in 2013. Over the four days, hundreds of presentations will be seen and heard by attendees. They'll also attend concerts and evening events in downtown Pittsburgh. About 2,000 members and guests are anticipated.

Drawing upwards of 250,000 attendees, the Carnegie Museum of Art will open the 2013 Carnegie International on October 5. Initiated in Pittsburgh by Andrew Carnegie in 1896, and presented every three to five years at Carnegie Museum of Art, the Carnegie International is among the leading survey exhibitions of contemporary art worldwide. The International serves to present an American audience, especially that of Western Pennsylvania, with a broad and ambitious survey of the art of our time. With works by artists from around the globe—including many commissioned specifically for the show—the 2013 International will be a catalyst for new ways to present, experience, and think about art. Once again, we are re-imagining art!

Finally, in January 2014, the Pittsburgh Cultural Trust and the Pittsburgh International Children's Festival will host the International Performing Arts for Youth Showcase, drawing artists, agents, presenters, students and delegates from around the world.

"The groundwork for Pittsburgh Is Art 2013 has been laid by countless individuals who imagined the potential the arts had to transform our community and who worked together to make it happen– people in the arts and people who simply love and support the arts," says Bill Flanagan, executive vice president, Allegheny Conference on Community Development.

For information about the conferences contact:

Angela Seals
Association of Children's Museums Annual Conference – April 30 to May 2, 2013
Children's Museum of Pittsburgh

Joe Wos
National Cartoonist Society Conference and Reuben Awards – May 24 to May 26, 2013

Veronica Corpuz
Three Rivers Arts Festival – June 7 to June 16, 2013
Pittsburgh Cultural Trust

Ashley Paulisick
Americans for the Arts Annual Convention (and pre-conferences) – June 13 to June 16, 2013
Greater Pittsburgh Arts Council

Bob Judd
American Musicological Society Annual Meeting – November 7 to November 10, 2013

Marc Fleming International Performing Arts for Youth Showcase – January 2014
Pittsburgh Cultural Trust