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E-Fest draws more arts to the streets

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After five years of holding E-Fest, East Liberty's arts festival at Highland and Penn avenues, "the community is starting to participate," says Muzz Meyers, fest organizer. Mostly, that means drawing arts groups and current exhibits out into the streets.

The annual event, on July 12-13 this year, includes a performance of Barrett Black's urban opera (at the nearby Kelly-Strayhorn Theater) and a concert by the Bach Choir (in East Liberty Presbyterian Church, right next to the festival). The photography exhibition A Broken Landscape, depicting the effects of HIV on South Africa, will be brought from the neighborhood's Kingsley Center to on-site tents.

Meyers expects 5,000 people again this year for games, crafts, food, and musical and dance performances that change hourly. As always, the legwork for E-Fest was done by local high school students -- including fund-raising.

"I've never done a presentation before a bank or a corporation," says William Brown, 17, of East Liberty, who graduated this year from Westinghouse High School. "It's been different. I think it'll help me out in the long run. I'm going to be a medical researcher. I know in that field you have to give presentations for funding."

"There's a nice mix" of people attending E-Fest, Meyers says. "It's primarily East End neighborhoods but it's not just East Liberty."

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