What to expect at the Philadelphia International Festival of the Arts

Remember that 21-foot-tall Eiffel Tower covered in 6,000 light bulbs in the Kimmel Center a few years back? Set designer and 2015 MacArthur Genius Award winner Mimi Lien designed the installation as part of the Philadelphia International Festival of the Arts, and she’s coming back to wow us again for PIFA 2016.

Lien’s “Kinetic Tree” will be at the Kimmel Center during the 16-day festival, kicking off April 8. The interactive sculpture will include sound and light elements and be made entirely of wood. “I want to make people look up and appreciate the vastness of the vertical space,” Lien said today at a preview of PIFA. “It’s a sculptural expression of PIFA’s curatorial vision: We are what we make.”

It also explores the “cycle of making and growing,” she explained with a laugh: A tree produces wood “and then we use that wood to create a sculpture of a tree.”

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The festival, now in its third iteration,will include 60 performances from international and local artistsand end with a street fair on the Avenue of the Arts. The organizers expect the fair alone to draw 100,000 people – which they thought would feel unbalanced without a major opening event to start PIFA. So this year the fest opens with “a ball of fire,” saidJay Wahl, the Kimmel’s artistic director.

Carabosse Company from France and Mexico’s Teatro Linea de Sombra are creating “Article 13,” April 8, 9 and 10 on Penn’s Landing. The installation/performance art — spanning 120,000 square feet, Wahl said — is being described as a “labyrinth of fire and sound.”

Article 13 is free to attend.For details on all of the performances and tickets for the events that aren’t free, go to theKimmel Center’s site.

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