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LCA: Thousands expected to attend annual Lewiston Art Festival this weekend

Mon, Aug 6th 2018 01:10 pm
The Lewiston Art Festival offers colorful art, created pieces, music, food, events for children and prizes for top creators. (Photos courtesy of the Lewiston Council on the Arts)
The Lewiston Art Festival offers colorful art, created pieces, music, food, events for children and prizes for top creators. (Photos courtesy of the Lewiston Council on the Arts)
KeyBank Chalk Walk, College Alley among Art Festival offerings
By Zackary Kephart
This weekend, Lewiston will be the place to visit with one of its busiest events on the calendar.
On Aug. 11-12, the Lewiston Art Festival celebrates its 52nd year. The two-day event runs from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday along Center Street between Fourth and Eighth streets.
A presentation of the Lewiston Council on the Arts, this event will showcase the work of more than 175 professional and student artists from 13 states (as far away as Florida and Texas), with 30 of them new to the festival.
Artists will compete for prize money awarded in eight categories, including painting, photography, graphic arts, sculpture, artistic crafts and jewelry.
"Bring money!" said Eva Nicklas, artistic director of Lewiston Council on the Arts. "The festival is an opportunity for people to buy quality fine art and crafts in many mediums. You can find treasures from $10 up to $5,000, and with the number of vendors we have, there is truly something for everyone.
"The Lewiston Art Festival traditionally brings in thousands of visitors and has given Lewiston a reputation for being an arts community. People come to enjoy the day, listen to music and see some of the finest art work that you can see all in one place."
Well-recognized among Western New York's prominent art shows, the Lewiston Art Festival also offers opportunities for student artists to display their work with College Alley and the Key Bank Chalk Walk.
This year, College Alley has moved to the leadoff spot of the festival, at Center and Eighth streets, in order to offer more opportunity for student artists' works to be seen. College Alley traditionally provides students a setting to gain exhibiting experience without adhering to the strict requirements for professional artists.
Talented student artists who started out in College Alley have won prize money, with many going on to become professionals.
New to the festival this year is "Ray the Rave" artist Ray Sack Jr., who has been compared to a modern-day Jackson Pollock. He will perform "splatter art with a twist" near College Alley.
Girl Scout Troop No. 70007 will give jewelry wire-wrapping lessons.
KeyBank's Chalk Walk competition presents a challenge to student artists with its theme, "Who Do You Think You Are?"
"We're excited to see how the students will creatively answer this question, especially when they're still trying to answer that question themselves," Nicklas said.
This year, the Chalk Walk will feature 13 teams. This popular event is sponsored by KeyBank, Mount St. Mary's Hospital and DiMino Tops Lewiston. Festival attendees are welcome to assist in judging works of the student artists in the People's Choice Award category, so be sure to vote for your favorite mural. Judging takes place around 4 p.m. Saturday.
In addition, Modern ArtZone will be back. The Lewiston Public Library will sponsor free, hands-on art activities. Kids will also be able to get their faces painted by a real artist. The Modern ArtZone tent will be located across from the gazebo at the corner of Fourth and Center streets.
This year's Lewiston Art Festival T-shirt is designed by artist JoAnn Vanderheite and commemorates the 52nd anniversary. Her work has been recognized by the American Gourd Society and she has received many awards at art shows in New York and Ohio. Festival visitors will be able to purchase their shirts at the LCA information booth at Fifth and Center streets.
Stop by and meet Vanderheite in person at booth No. 1H, located near the Hennepin Park Gazebo.
This year, performance artist and Chainsaw Chix member Sara Wojtowicz will create a wooden chainsaw masterpiece right before visitors' eyes in the International Peace Garden. In addition, drum circle, street musicians, entertainers and performers will add to the cultural nuance of this show.
As for where to park, Nicklas laughed as she commented, "The better the event, the worse the parking!
"With that said, we're giving Boy Scout Troop No. 855 the opportunity to use the Lewiston Art Festival as a fundraising opportunity. While you can find parking on the side streets, the Boy Scouts will offer parking at Academy Park."
Nicklas said that, in an effort to decrease the environmental impact of the festival, organizers are encouraging everyone to recycle at the event.
To get all into the festival spirit, vocalist Garry Allen Seefeldt will entertain at 7 p.m. Friday at the Hennepin Park Gazebo. He will perform classic songs by Frank Sinatra, Tony Bennett and others.
"You can feel the excitement in the village the Thursday and Friday before the festival as artists begin to arrive from all over the country," Nicklas said. "They're staying in the hotels, eating in the restaurants and you see a much more eclectic group of people in Lewiston during this time. They're roaming around the village and exploring Lewiston, and you can really feel the excitement.
"Therefore, as people converge, we thought it would be nice to offer some entertainment beforehand, as well as an opportunity to enhance the experience - not just for the artists, but for anyone who wants to come relax and enjoy some free music!"
The signature event for the LCA, the Lewiston Art Festival is also a fundraiser for many other not-for-profit organizations such as the Kiwanis Club of Lewiston, the Rotary Club and Hope for Heaven.
For more information, visit www.artcouncil.org.

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