Check out the Buddha and the muscle car at the festival


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The Three Rivers Arts Festival's public art works are from artists who are emerging and/or local. Festival director Veronica Corpuz expects to add experienced artists as the festival expands and, in three to five years, international artists to the public art lineup. Here is a look at the public art:

• "The Drift" -- a floating platform will harbor "Azimuth," which debuted in the fall at the VIA Music & New Media Festival. Festival visitors, by reservation, will boat from shore to the platform in the river and "experience an intimate three- or four-person interactive performance." "The Drift" was the idea of seven CMU master's of fine arts degree students and first appeared in our rivers as a floating iceberg on opening day of the 2012 Pittsburgh Pirates season. Artists Scott Andrew, Steve Gurysh, Luke Loeffler, Felipe Castelblanco, Erin Womack and Craig Fahner collaborated on this latest iteration of an innovative way of calling attention to Pittsburgh's rivers through art. (At the Allegheny Riverfront, Point State Park, June 14-16. The 20-minute shows will be offered from noon to 2:30 p.m. and 3:20 to 6 p.m. June 15 and 16. Visitors may sign up with a drift team member at the launch point on performance days.)

• "Floating Echo" -- a transparent inflatable 10-foot-tall statue of Buddha will float in a lotus position upon the pebble-lined waters beneath the Point State Park Portal Bridge. The work by Korean-born New York City resident Chang-Jin Lee debuted last year at Socrates Sculpture Park, Queens, N.Y., which commissioned it. "It is seeming present and absent at the same time," her website declares. (Daily.)

• "American Hero #4" -- Dallas native and African-American artist Hugh Hayden explores infatuation with hair within the context of race and race within the context of mainstream American culture through the potent symbol of a 1965 Ford Mustang. It's both familiar and jarring, painted white, set upon a white field, the muscle car racing stripes replaced with wide bands that emulate black hair braided into corn rows. Also a 2012 Socrates Sculpture Park commission, the work has been stored gratis by Guardian Self Storage at the Waterfront since it left Socrates in March, another example of festival and community collaboration. The lawn it will be installed upon will be painted by Chris Ecton and the field crew from Heinz Field, who do the field painting for the Pittsburgh Steelers. Ms. Corpuz said it was one of the most visited works at Socrates. "People instinctively felt that they could touch it." Her hope is that festival visitors will give it a new life at this new location by photographing themselves with the piece and sending the images out using the festival hash tag. (Gateway Center Lawn, Daily.)

• "Conflict Kitchen" -- The home-grown takeout that serves ethnic foods from nations the U.S. is in conflict with, and which has attracted the attention of national media, moves to the Point State Park Food Court for a day featuring Iranian specialties. It is a project of Carnegie Mellon University art professor Jon Rubin, Dawn Weleski and Robert Sayre. (Open noon to 9 p.m. June 14.)

• "Instabiles" -- The motions of passers-by influence the shapes of virtual mobiles that then spin up the building side, by Andrew Hieronymi, Penn State faculty, and Ian Brill, Penn State World Campus and Community College of Beaver County. (In Tito Way behind the Benedum Center. Visible at sunset, 8 p.m. to midnight, June 14-16.)

• Also "Pittsburgh: Spectral Ascending" -- Part of the dedication celebration of Riverlights at the Point, six laser projectors atop PPG Place aim at the top of the 150-foot fountain in Point State Park. It is the creation of Lightwave International with Yvette Mattern, the team that created internationally exhibited "Golden Rainbow," which was shown in New York City as a tribute to the victims of Hurricane Sandy. (Visible at sunset, 8 p.m. to midnight, Friday through Sunday.)

-- Mary Thomas, Post-Gazette

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