Families, children the focus for Creativity Zone at Three Rivers Arts Festival

Immerse your family in art with hands-on crafts and creative experiences with the Giant Eagle Creativity Zone. Part of Three Rivers Arts Festival, the Creativity Zone encourages kids of all ages to interact and participate in creating art.

The Creativity Zone, located at EQT Plaza on Liberty Avenue daily from noon to 6 p.m., is hosting different local organizations, all of which offer prepared prepackaged, take-home activities.

On Tuesday, the Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre arranged creative dancing and an activity inspired by the “birds of ballet.”

Kids took home a build-a-bird craft, a playlist curated by PBT team members, and information on the birds found in famous ballets. Information with suggestions for movement activation inspired by different kinds of birds is also available. Attendees danced along to a playlist featuring these birds of ballet.

According to Kathryn Gigler, PBT’s director of education and community engagement, birds like the bluebird in “The Sleeping Beauty” and Odette/Odile in “Swan Lake” are everywhere in ballet.

“Birds move in beautiful and fascinating ways on the ground and in the air, making them a terrific entry point for exploring movement with children,” Ms. Gigler said. “By using the music from famous works and adding in an imaginative craft component to the activity, we hope to create meaningful and engaging experiences with ballet for families visiting the festival.”

Jackie Smid, 4, and her mother, Vonnie Smid, both of Pleasant Hills, visited the theatre at the Creativity Zone and said she learned about the different types of birds.

“I can make whatever bird I want,” Jackie said of the provided craft. “You get to make your own favorite.”

Vonnie said they heard about the Zone from other festivalgoers and found it to be interesting.

Giovanna Tatananni, Pittsburgh Cultural Trust programming and marketing intern, said the Creativity Zone seeks to “provide an artistic medium through crafts to kids in an accessible way and promote great local organizations, giving them a spotlight.”

According to Ms. Tatananni, the festival is for everyone and different parts will appeal to different people, but the Creativity Zone is a place where kids get the chance to experience art rather than just observe or shop for it.

“It’s one of those locations in the festival where you can really participate in the festival in a very active way,” she said. “You become the festival. It’s interactive and very special in that way.”

Festival volunteer Diane Bond, 72, of Weirton, W.Va., said she sees the Creativity Zone as generating family activities and enthusiasm.

“It was fun,” Ms. Bond said, referencing Saturday’s activity hosted by KidsBurgh, an online resource for kid-oriented news. Ms. Bond said she helped package and pass out bags of recycled magazine paper and pipe cleaners for a flower craft.

“We showed them the flower and the postcard they could color and send to someone special, which I thought was kind of cute,” Ms. Bond said.

Additional past events include watercolor kits provided by Sweetwater Center for the Arts and music-inspired coloring pages with music lesson information from the Sunburst School of Music.

The Creativity Zone is also holding a food drive with 412 Food Rescue at EQT Plaza for the duration of the festival. Donate healthy, nonperishable food items and toiletries on-site and learn about food insecurity within the local community.

Jake Tepperman, 412 Food Rescue donor outreach manager, said they have gotten a number of donations and are certainly looking for more.

“Everyone is really enthusiastic, as a whole, at the festival to be back,” Ms. Tatananni said. “The organizations are happy to be here, and the kids are excited to be receiving some sort of craft to be doing.”

The PBT loves being part of the arts and culture community in Pittsburgh and its members are thrilled to work with the Pittsburgh Cultural Trust this year as part of the festival, said Ms. Gigler.

“Outdoor arts opportunities like the Creativity Zone make ballet more accessible to families and give children a chance to experience ballet as dancers, and not only as audience members,” she said. “We are so excited to get back to working with Pittsburgh families in person again and hope that the Creativity Zone encourages folks to continue to seek out the performing arts in Pittsburgh theaters.”

Upcoming events

  • Wednesday / Studio Forget-Me-Not: Part of Not Forgotten Home and Community Service, Studio Forget-Me-Not endorses the uniqueness of all persons through inclusion and opportunity.
  • Thursday / Union Project: Participate in Bugs and Blooms by shaping a ceramic garden critter out of clay and creating seed bombs out of terracotta clay, compost, soil and wildflower seeds. Plant the seed bomb in your community to support the region’s pollinators.
  • Friday / Fort Pitt Museum: Explore regional history with the Fort Pitt Museum.
  • Saturday / UniSound, Box Instrument Craft: UniSound will offer take-home crafts of various make-your-own box instruments. Kids can learn about the different instruments while deciding which one they would be interested in playing.
  • Sunday / Carnegie Museum of Natural History: Learn from educators of the Natural History Museum and participate in challenges that help give a closer look at nature. Pick up an activity that explores the creative side of science.

Hannah Wyman: hwyman@post-gazette.com, 412-263-1255

First Published June 8, 2021, 11:20am

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