In conjunction with the National Cartoonists Society Conference, the ToonSeum will be hosting the first Pittsburgh Comic Arts Festival from noon to 5 p.m. Sunday. Celebrity panels at the Downtown museum of cartoon art, neighboring Bricolage and the August Wilson Center will run from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
The 900 block of Liberty Avenue, Downtown, where the ToonSeum makes its home, will become a Funny Pages Block Party, with character visits from Betty Boop, Popeye, Olive Oyl, Dennis the Menace and the Care Bears, plus vendors, art activities, chalk artists and caricaturists. The festival also will feature autograph and sketch sessions with more than 60 top comic artists and cartoonists.
Admission to the street festival is free; there will be a $5 charge to gain access to exhibitions at the ToonSeum and artists' signing booths. Panel discussion seating is limited and ticket price is $20. A VIP pass for $150 includes admission at 7:30 tonight to the ToonSeum for a sneak peek at the first-ever exhibition of works by all Reuben Award winners, spanning more than 60 years. The VIP pass also includes reserved seating to panels; a private meet and greet with artists; a set of limited-edition event posters; a special thank-you sketch by a cartoonist; and a ToonSeum gift. VIP passes are limited to 40 (comicvip.eventbrite.com). More information and tickets: www.pghcomicartsfest.com.
• The August Wilson Center will display original art from the classic animated series "Fat Albert" in its gallery.
• Books and prints for signings will be available for purchase, with all proceeds benefiting the NCS/ToonSeum Fund for Youth Programs.
• 10-11 a.m. (ToonSeum, 945 Liberty Ave.): Jan Eliot ("Stone Soup"), Patrick McDonnell ("Mutts"), Brian Walker ("Hi & Lois").
• 11 a.m.-noon (August Wilson Center, 980 Liberty Ave.): Brian Crane ("Pickles"), Greg Evans ("Luann"), Rob Rogers (Post-Gazette editorial cartoonist), John Rose ("Barney Google and Snuffy Smith"), John Stevens (caricatoonist), Carolyn Belefski ("Curls").
• Noon-1 p.m. (Wilson Center): Paul Fell ("Paul Fell Cartoons"), Jeff Keane ("Family Circus"), Bunny Hoest ("The Lockhorns," "Laugh Parade," "Howard Huge"), Bill Morrison ("Simpsons Comics"), Laurie Triefeldt ("World of Wonder"), Sandra Bell-Lundy ("Between Friends").
• 1-2 p.m. (Wilson Center): Donna Lewis ("Reply All Comic"), Mark Tatulli ("Lio"), Jerry Van Amerongen ("Ballad Street"), Greg Walker ("Beetle Bailey"), Tom Richmond ("Mad Magazine").
• 1:15-2:15 p.m. (Bricolage, 937 Liberty Ave; ticketed event): Women in Cartooning Panel -- Lynn Johnston ("For Better or For Worse"), Cathy Guisewite ("Cathy"), Terri Libenson ("Pajama Diaries") and Hilary Price ("Rhymes With Orange"), Jen Sorensen ("Slowpoke").
• 2-3 p.m. (Wilson Center): Jason Chatfield ("Ginger Meggs"), Barbara Dale ("Dale Cards"), Jeff Knurek ("Jumble: That Scrambled Word Game"); Mo Willems ("Don't Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus").
• 3:15-4:15 p.m. (Bricolage): Dan Piraro ("Bizarro Quick-Draw Jam Session!").
• 3-4 p.m.: (Wilson Center): Daryll Collins ("Scholastic, Highlights and Boys Life"); Paul Combs ("Drawn by Fire"), John Hambrock ("The Brilliant Mind of Edison Lee," King Features), Bill Holbrook ("On the Fast Track"), Jim Horwitz ("Watson"), Rick Kirkman ("Baby Blues").
• 5-6 p.m. (Wilson Center): Andrew Farago (curator, Cartoon Art Museum, San Francisco), Michael Jantze ("The Norm"), Mahendra Shah ("I Said it Too"), Rick Stromoski ("Soup to Nutz").
The festival is being held in partnership between the National Cartoonists Society, the ToonSeum, the August Wilson Center and Bricolage Theater, with support from the Richard King Mellon Foundation and Geek Pittsburgh.