The fifth annual Oliver Street Art Festival will take place from noon to 5 p.m. Saturday, August 4, on Oliver Street (between Schenck and Robinson streets), North Tonawanda. The event will feature more than 60 local artists working in various media such as painting, photography, crafts, jewelry-making and metal smith work.
"The festival marks the fifth-year anniversary of the gallery and I can proudly say that not only does it get bigger every year, but the importance of the community is emphasized more each year as well," said Natalie Brown, organizer of the event and manager of the Project 308 Gallery.
This meaningful connection to the community is evident in the exhibition that will be on display inside the Project 308 Gallery during the festival. The exhibition will feature artwork by artists and teachers who participated in an art therapy program hosted by Art Therapy Buffalo, a local professional alliance of art therapists.
The mission of Art Therapy Buffalo is to educate the community and advocate for increased accessibility to creative arts therapy services by qualified professionals in the Buffalo Niagara regions. Art therapists and client-artists will share personal, visual responses to the concept of "Connection," using a variety of media, materials and modes of expression. There will be a separate opening reception for this exhibition from 6-9 p.m. Friday, Aug. 3. The show will also be on view to the public during the Oliver Street Art Festival.
In addition to artwork, the festival will feature live music throughout the day. Sassi Cakes Dessert Truck, Hawaiian BBQ Food Truck and Dragon Babies Food Truck will be there, as well. Attendees can also enjoy a free beer sampling from Flying Bison Brewery.
Brown said there will be an array of activities for children, as well.
She is a member of the Oliver Street Merchants Association, comprised of Oliver Street business owners who are beautifying the street with newly painted planters and banners. The group also holds events that showcase local merchants on Oliver Street. The merchants group will be on site with family-friendly art activities and a basket raffle. Brown is working with neighboring businesses to ensure this is a family friendly environment where attendees of all ages can have fun.
Matt Hoffman from the Academy Auction house located next door to the Project 308 Gallery said, "Every year the festival gets bigger and better. The festival is a very nice way to showcase of the hidden gems on Oliver Street!"
Hoffman sponsored a rock-climbing wall for the festival in the past and continues to be a supportive neighbor at the event.
Brown said the festival and gallery uphold a mission "to engage those who appreciate the arts, collaborate with local artists and students, and activate a renewed enthusiasm for art in the community."
She added she hopes that, by bringing the community together with the Art Festival, people "will recognize the local talent that surrounds us and will see how art can positively impact the neighborhood."