'But first, let me chalk a selfie'
by Allison Deutschman
A highlight of the 48th annual Lewiston Art Festival is most certainly the Chalk Walk sponsored by KeyBank.
Western New York high school students from Erie and Niagara counties will collaborate with students from their specific regional school to create the best chalk masterpiece they can dream up, Saturday, Aug. 9, at noon.
"It's such an asset having these kids coloring right down the main street, as the art festival is going on," said Kathryn Sirianni, outreach coordinator of the Lewiston Council on the Arts.
The 18 teams registered for the event submitted a rough sketch of their drawing idea back in June. With red, red-orange, orange, yellow-orange, yellow, red-violet, violet, blue, green, black, brown and white chalk provided, the ideas will come to life on the streets of Lewiston this weekend.
Beginning at noon, the creations can be constructed on the pavement for four hours straight. More than 25,000 visitors are anticipated to come and enjoy the masterpieces for the duration of the festival over the weekend.
This year's culturally insightful theme is "selfie." The term added this past year to Merriam Webster's dictionary, as well as the title of The Chainsmoker's current smash hit, is all too familiar to the millennial generation. For those unacquainted with the iconic photo style saturating the Internet, a selfie is defined as "an image of oneself taken by oneself using a digital camera, especially for posting on social networks."
Selfie chalk submissions must be done in the style of a famous artist's self-portrait within a designated 8-foot-by-10-foot rectangle of black asphalt. One student from each team will be depicted in the team's chalk image.
A paragraph about the artists' interpretations of the theme is also required and will be judged along with the earlier submitted sketch in case rain stops the competition.
Artists must conclude their chalk entries by 4 p.m. By 5 p.m., the three judges - local artists involved in the festival - will determine a winning team.
"Arts are Key" cash prizes and trophies will be awarded to the winning art department; individual students will receive prize ribbons. Trophies will be given to the Chairman's Choice and People's Choice winners.
The 25-cent votes submitted by the general public determine the People's Choice winner. These monetary contributions will be used to fund the team T-shirts and chalk used during the 2015 festival.
After 30 years of the Chalk Walk and 48 years of the Art Festival, the Lewiston Council on the Arts is proud to have its largest number of Chalk Walk participants to date, and a wonderful local audience to enjoy it all with.
"I look forward to the look of pride on those teens when they're lining up for the awards ceremony," Sirianni said. "They're so hopeful. I think it's one of the best parts of the Art Festival."