Sunday, September 6, 2009


Dear visitors,
We are pleased to exclaim that the first Pitsburgh Visionary Arts Festival was a complete success!!!
We received much much great input and there was a generally awesome response from the public, media, artists and everyone involved. Work was sold, connections amongst cool people were made, and lots of new opportunities and initiatives have emerged.
Now we are working on building and organizing all the wonderful images and footage, and working towards being able to do this once more in 2011...
In the meantime, here are a couple of images to give a sense of how the VAF rolled. Soon, on our website, we will have more images and documentation of this very succesful first year, as well as information regarding the future of the VAF, as far as applications, lineup, concepts and ideas.

Photographs courtesy of Alberto Almarza, Mihnea Vasilescu and Sarah Habib. Video designed by Nicole Capozzi, Boxheart Expressions.

Also, an awesome document of HiTEC's book release and performance (or rather Uncert) on their first day at the VAF. Stay tuned for the next installments with footage of their other two performances, courtesy of tENTATIVELY a cONVENIENCE .
Infinite thanks to all of HiTEC for so generously donating their time to rock out the VAF!

Thursday, July 2, 2009


We now have a new website...

Monday, May 25, 2009

About the VAF Purpose...

I have been asked to share more ideas about our purpose. Well, keep in mind that the VAF is providing a space for a rich diversity of minds, and so the purpose and the visions will range from artist to artist. I want to provide this open space so that individuals can make their own important points, since I know every artist has one. But I do have a personal vision which is specific to the creation of this event. I will share some of this in hopes that we may all agree, or at least think about what the point of doing something like this may be.
In short, I have thought of six concrete points or goals regarding the VAF vision:

1) To entertain, engage and enrich all of the city of Pittsburgh with a fun venue that promotes art in its widest and deepest sense.

2) To provide a space for rare and diverse visionary expressions that may not normally find outlets in the existing art market.

3) To create a strong venue for dialog among artists and community members, outside of the conventional art world and free from a lucrative focus.

4) To engage youth and promote active, independent leadership by means of example and inspiration.

5) To raise Pittsburgh’s awareness regarding the potential of art to transcend ornamental value and address real topics of public and personal importance.

6) To aid a definition of art which honors true impressions, emotions, struggles, concerns and free thinking, and that is not ruled by standardized and conventional notions of aesthetic value, academic norm, craft standards, economic worth, marketability or productivity

Ultimately, my interest in facilitating such event as The Pittsburgh Visionary Arts Festival comes from my own experience with feeling extremely passionate about art work, yet finding that the existing structure for exposing art is somewhat limiting and often times inappropriate for the rare nature of many works. There is a fundamental error in a society that supports art solely for aesthetic or ornamental reasons. This is not to say that I don’t fully support the existing structure, I just hope to compliment and extend the definitions of art as perceived by viewers. What I find to be the truly important art is the equivalent of a materialization of Spirit, much in the way of aboriginal, shamanic and sacred art. It involves an understanding of art which reintegrates it to the most fundamental necessities of human kind.

I have met artists who have stopped making art altogether for not having found an outlet for their unprofitable creations which are instead charged with deeper purpose and inner beauty. This applies not only to artwork per se, but also to original, questioning lifestyles and thoughts. I have been fortunate and driven enough so as to participate in the conventional art scene with great success, and yet the general public does not seem opened enough to appreciate many of the more inexplicable aspects of my work. This openness has to come from exposure and so more venues must exist for the subtler and “stranger” arts. I am inspired to encourage artists and non-artists to continue on creating works and lives that don’t seem to have an obvious place in this world. I intend to recover that place. It is ultimately a dream of mine to provide a venue where the rarest and least-understood corners of creativity can be proudly displayed, shared and enjoyed with the world.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

The Good News!!!!!

Dear artists, visitors and friends of the VAF:
We are soooooooooo glad to inform you that Sprout Fund has decided to grant a Seed Award to the Pittsburgh Visionary Arts Festival! This means we got the grant and this dream is now well on its way to becoming a reality!
So now is a time to tell everyone, get ready, get excited and prepare for August of 2009!
Keep your eyes out for the poster and press releases, as well as the website which will come out very soon. Also, please help us spread the word.
We will keep you posted!

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Welcome to the VAF blog!

This space is setup as a temporary informational tool until our website is released...

The Pittsburgh Visionary Arts Festival (VAF) will occur in August 7th, 8th and 9th of 2009! It will entail 50 individual artist booths spread along the main lawn of Schenley Plaza in Oakland. The festival's main sponsor is our own Pittsburgh Parks Conservancy, which has made an outstanding effort to make this vibrant event happen. We are also in the proccess of applying for a Sprout Fund Seed Award to help cover the high costs of such ambitious event. The Sprout Fund is now well known for supporting unique, innovative, independent initiatives in Pittsburgh, so we are hoping they are going to enjoy supporting this one!
The lineup of artists so far is amazing. I have setup a slide show of their works, even though these pictures definitely do not do justice to what these artists will be up to at the VAF!

The confirmed artists so far include:
Aimee Manion
Alberto J. Almarza
Ally Reeves
Ashley Brickman
Bob Ziller
Bill Davis
Bruce Brinker
Carlee Freeman
Christina Martine
Christine Bethea
Connie Cantor
Constance Merriman
Deanna Mance
Dean Cercone
Elin Lennox
Encyclopedia Destructica
Etta cettera
Gabe Felice
Ian Green
James Gyre
Jay Del Greco
Jesse Riesmeyer
Jonathan Brodsky
Jude Vachon
Juliana Morris
Kyle Ethan Fischer
Laura Gyre
Lowry Burgess
Mark Traughber
Matt Marino
Mike Budai
Morgan Cahn
Moshe Sherman
Randie Snow
Rose Clancy
Ryder Henry
Sebastian Van Gorder
Shaun Slifer
Sherry Rusinack
Tom Estlack
Troy Blum
Vanessa German

In addition, the VAF will be honored with the performance of tENTATIVELY a cONVENIENCE's HiTEC (Histrionic Thought Experiment Cooperative), an experimental orchestra composed of 20 or so visionary local artists, muscicians and mad scientists. HiTEC will give three performances to close each day of the festival, at 8pm, under Schenley Plaza's comfy Main Tent. Check out HiTEC on youtube.

Other Cool Features of the VAF:

1) "Tricksters”: This is a conceptual work created to represent the dance and movement fields of art in the VAF. I am now working on putting this together. A group of about 20 movement artists (I don't want to narrow the term to dancers) will take shifts throughout the festival weekend to perform this free-form piece. "Tricksters" are trained (and untrained) movement artists who will be in disguise as normal observers of the festival. Unexpectedly, the Trickster will spontaneously combust into statues, ballet dancing, contemporary contorsionism, monkey-mode and many other perception-pushing feats and treats, only to come back to normality in an instant. Their role is to challenge our perception of the boundaries of the physical body in public contexts, creating momentary escapes from consensus social reality into beautiful displays of freedom. I hope I am explaining this clearly for now. There will be a detailed description as well as a list of official Tricksters coming up soon.

2) "Micro-curation": I am truly exited about this idea, it came in a flash of inspiration. Of course I can't pull this off by myself, I need the participating artists. This concept involves the idea of each artist of the festival being both an artist and a curator. Each of them will be a host for an invited guest artist of their selection, for them to display one or two works. So they will select an artist (or anybody they decide) to bring a work to display in their booth. My realization was that, in doing this simple step, we will double the amount of exposure of beauty to the world (or something like this). Also, the visionary artists, will be able to share with us who they think is doing beautiful work out there. All the artist needs to do is think of a person and borrow one of their works to show, it is a completely symbiotic relation! I will not force anybody to be a micro-curator, but I proposed to the artists to think about the idea during this time. I think by August it could easily be an amazing initiative brought to full bloom.