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Annual DATA Event Expands to Bring More Innovative Works

A golf ball-shaped dome that uses the light from its windows to project a reflection is only one of the many works of creative technology on display at a two-day event starting Wednesday at the Pittsburgh Cultural Trust Education Center.

DATA 2014, featuring an interactive exhibition, innovation conference and awards ceremony, will bring together artists, investors and innovation leaders to network and share their work.

The event, sponsored by the Pittsburgh Technology Council, started in 2008 as an awards ceremony, and has since expanded. The conference and exhibition were added this year to garner more national attention, according to Creative Technology Network director Kim Chestney Harvey.

“We really want to raise awareness of all the great things that are happening here in Pittsburgh,” Harvey said. “We have such a robust innovation community and such a creative community. Our goal really is to get that out nationally.”

The DATA Awards will recognize nine pieces of work from a field of 75 finalists. Winners are chosen by a panel of experts and a public vote, which is in its second straight year. More than 10,000 people voted online this year for works in eight categories: design, communications, fine arts, software, hardware, community and student. There will also be a People’s Choice Award, given to the piece with the most public votes.

“We asked people when they jury it during the voting process to rate folks on the level of creativity of the project and the level of innovation,” Harvey said. “We really want to see things that are new and haven’t been done before, and that’s really a strong point.”

At the exhibit, more than 50 awards finalists will be displaying their works. The conference will feature 18 global presenters discussing design, gaming, film and television, robotics, mobile applications, animation and social networks.

Harvey said the event has garnered “some really good traction and some really good partnerships.”

“We’d love to see it grow and to attract more people to come to the region on an annual basis,” Harvey said. “We’ve talked about partnering with other festivals here in Pittsburgh to [evolve] this into an arts and technology festival that attracts folks.”

The event is open to the public. An all-access pass, including a ticket to a kickoff party Wednesday night, costs $199. Tickets for the conference and awards gala are $99 each.

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