Populations throughout Southwestern Pennsylvania boast a rich history of ethnic diversity and unique heritage arts reaching back centuries. As one of fourteen Pennsylvania Folk Arts Partners, Rivers of Steel helps maintain the vital presence of these cultural and occupational traditions that have shaped the Rivers of Steel National Heritage Area.
Heritage Arts programs at Rivers of Steel are integrated within multiple facets of the organization, from historical preservation, fieldwork and educational initiatives, to artist in residence programs and festivals throughout the Mon Valley Creative Corridor. Projects presented under the Heritage Arts banner have showcased a variety of local traditions in foodways, folk music, metal work, dance performances, and more.
Folk and Traditional Arts Apprenticeship
As a Pennsylvania Council on the Arts Folk Arts Partner, Rivers of Steel is proud to offer apprenticeship grants that support the learning of traditional arts within cultural communities across the state. Each grant award provides funding to a partnership between a master traditional artist and a qualified apprentice, enabling them to work together to share and develop advanced techniques or repertoire. Apprenticeships in Traditional Arts grants are offered annually in both performing or craft traditions.
Festival of Combustion
At the Carrie Blast Furnaces
Showcasing the creativity and innovation our region’s artisans, makers, and builders, the day features workshops in traditional mosaics and iron casting, blacksmithing and glass blowing demonstrations along with stations for welding, metal fabrication, and even custom automotive work.
HAMMER-IN BLACKSMITHING FESTIVAL
As a National Heritage Area, Rivers of Steel is charged with telling the local stories that celebrate our region’s contributions to our nation’s diverse heritage. In partnership with the Pittsburgh Area Artists Blacksmith’s Association (PAABA) the annual Hammer-In festival at the W.A. Young & Sons Foundry and Machine Shop welcomes regional artisans each spring to share their craft and bring renewed energy to this National Historic Landmark site.