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Lewiston Art Festival grows as it enters 53rd year

Mon, Aug 5th 2019 07:05 am
Thousands will visit the Lewiston Art Festival.
Thousands will visit the Lewiston Art Festival.

Chalk Walk an Art Festival tradition; College Alley gets an upgrade

Lewiston’s reputation as a thriving arts community and cultural epicenter is due, in no small part, to the annual Lewiston Art Festival. Now in its 53rd year, the Lewiston Council on the Arts’ village event was named one of the “Top Cultural Destinations” by First Sunday Magazine, a “Summer Festival Showcase Event” by the Bi-National Niagara Tourism Alliance, and one of “10 Perfect Places to Plan a Trip” by U.S. News.

The Lewiston Art Festival canvas will stretch across Center Street from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 10, and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 11. This prestigious showcase will feature the work of more than 175 professional and student artists from 13 states – as far away as Florida and Texas, and one-third participating for the first time.

“We are so proud to share our beautiful community with the artists and visitors that come to Lewiston for the Art Festival and who get to experience the vitality of our charming village, Lewiston Council on the Arts Executive Director Irene Rykaszewski said. “Aside from the obvious economic benefits, the festival fosters pride and strengthens community connections among elected officials, volunteers, residents and organizations. This is the ‘glue’ that holds our community together and makes it a very special place to live and work.”

Artists will compete for prize money in eight categories, including painting, photography, graphic arts, sculpture, artistic crafts (ceramics, wood, fiber, glass) and jewelry. Modern Corporation co-sponsors the “Modern Art Awards,” which total more than $6,000.

A look at some of the 2018 Chalk Walk participants.

On Saturday, watch the chalk fly as teams of talented student artists from across the region converge for the KeyBank Chalk Walk competition. Chalk art will come to life as students create spectacularly colorful and descriptive murals right on the street.

The challenge this year is to come up with a mural using the theme, “Peace, Love and Chalk” – an homage to the 50th anniversary of Woodstock and the “Summer of Love.”

Judging takes place about 4 p.m. Saturday afternoon, with prizes awarded for merit and via a fan vote.

In keeping with the Art Council’s commitment to foster the development of young artists, College Alley will again feature the work of high school and college students. It provides participants an opportunity to gain exhibiting experience without adhering to more stringent requirements for professional artists. This year, art will be situated in a new location near Eighth Street.

The Modern ArtZone is all about fun for the kids! The Lewiston Public Library will sponsor a free, hands-on art activity; and children can get their faces painted by a real artist. Look for the tent between the Frontier House and Brickyard Brewing Company.

Modern CEO Michael P. McInerney said, “Modern is proud to be a part of the Lewiston community and is excited for this opportunity to support local artists. We are also honored to work with the Lewiston Council on the Arts to lessen the environmental impact that a popular festival such as this can have on our community.”

New this year, the Hennepin Park Gazebo will be transformed into an Iroquois market offering guests a look into the rich history of local Native American heritage. This spot will offer a celebration of traditional and contemporary Native American culture expressed through art, music, drumming, dance and children’s activities.

The Barroom Buzzards, Old Hippies and the 12/8 Path Band will add their musical merriment to the festival.

Featured artist JoAnn Vanderheite is shown with her work.

Visit the information booth at Center and Fifth streets to pick up this year’s colorful Art Festival T-shirt. The 2019 image was created by artist JoAnn Vanderheite to commemorate the 53rd anniversary. The American Gourd Society has recognized her work, and she has received many awards at art shows in both New York and Ohio. Stop by and meet her in person at booth No. 1H, located near the gazebo.

Back this year is a pedestrian-friendly layout that will close Center Street to vehicular traffic from Eighth to Fourth streets, thus allowing the LCA to fill the village roads with art and music.

For the safety and comfort of both two- and four-legged friends, festival attendees are strongly encouraged to leave their pets at home. (Service dogs are welcome.)

For those who want to get a jump on Art Festival weekend, the fun begins at 7 p.m. Friday at the Hennepin Park Gazebo, Center and South Fourth streets. Vocalist Garry Seefeldt will take listeners on a lyrical “Call Me Irresponsible” journey, performing classic songs by Frank Sinatra, Tony Bennett and other legends.

The 2019 Art Festival is sponsored by Modern Recycling, KeyBank, Mount St. Mary’s Hospital, DiMino Lewiston Tops, Tin Pan Alley and the Niagara Falls Bridge Commission. The Iroquois Market is sponsored by New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Gov. Andrew Cuomo and the New York State Legislature (with a decentralization grant administered through Arts Services Initiative). KeyBank, Mount St. Mary’s and Tops sponsor the Chalk Walk.

For more information, visit www.artcouncil.org.

Niagara River Iroquois Dancers are set to participate in this year’s Lewiston Art Festival.

VFW ‘Circle of Honor’ fundraiser at Art Fest

VFW Downriver Post No. 7487 will sell old-fashioned pizza and deep-friend cheesecake by Favorites Pizzeria at the Lewiston Art Festival. All proceeds will help benefit the new “Circle of Honor,” which will be dedicated to those who have served the country. The monument is set to be built in Academy Park, on the corner of Center Street and Portage Road.

The volunteers from the VFW and Favorites will be located on the Art Festival grounds near DiCamillo Bakery. A 50/50 raffle will also be held by the VFW to help with monument costs, as well as restoring the 1901 canon on display at the park.

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