Contact: Betsy Momich, 412.622.3236
Director of Corporate Communications
Carnegie Museums of Pittsburgh
On September 3, 2008, Carnegie Museums of Pittsburgh and the advisory board of the Three Rivers Arts Festival confirmed that Carnegie Museums has assumed responsibility for the Festival’s day-to-day operations.
“Over the past year, we have become increasingly concerned about the financial health of the Festival,” said David Hillenbrand, President of Carnegie Museums of Pittsburgh. “By taking this step now, we have an opportunity to not only better assess the organization’s finances, but also re-evaluate its operations and its mission. An important first step–and the responsible thing to do–was to minimize expenses and major commitments until we complete that assessment.” The Festival’s two senior managerial positions have been eliminated as part of these cost-cutting measures.
Carnegie Museums has named Colleen Russell Criste Acting Director for the Festival. Criste is Deputy Director of The Andy Warhol Museum, one of the four Carnegie Museums of Pittsburgh. Ben Harrison, Associate Curator of Performance for The Warhol, will serve as Acting Curator of Performance for TRAF. The two will maintain their roles at The Warhol and work with the TRAF staff and advisory board, as well as the many contractors, community leaders, and other TRAF stakeholders to ensure a successful and vital future for the Festival.
“The Three Rivers Arts Festival is a beloved Pittsburgh tradition, set to celebrate its 50th anniversary in 2009,” Hillenbrand said. “It is certainly our hope and intent to restore it to a financially strong and mission-focused position so that it will be able to serve the region for another 50 years.”
“The TRAF Advisory Board is working side-by-side with the interim festival leadership and staff — and on behalf of the hundreds of thousands of festival goers who love this free arts and cultural event, which animates Downtown Pittsburgh every summer,” said Deborah Acklin, chair of the Three Rivers Arts Festival advisory board. “On the cusp of our 50th anniversary, Carnegie Museums and the Festival share the same objective of developing a new direction and mission for the event.”
The Three Rivers Arts Festival was founded in 1959 by The Women’s Committee of Carnegie Museum of Art. The Festival has operated largely independently from Carnegie Museums over the past 20 years, except for support from Carnegie Museums in such areas as human resources.