By Joshua Maloni
As the Village of Lewiston Board prepares to meet Monday night to discuss the “Lewiston Public Art Project” with the Historic Preservation and Planning commissions, trustees have a new proposal to consider.
The Lewiston Council on the Arts has modified its original plan, providing additional details on two of the three project elements. In particular, the LCA has suggested placing metal art frames solely inside Academy Park – not on Center Street, and therefore not under the New York State Department of Transportation’s jurisdiction.
Five frames would be situated between the “Circle of Honor” and the to-be-relocated “Spirit of Victory,” while five more would be positioned between that art work and the Upward Niagara Chamber of Commerce office/Lewiston Welcome Center.
Under the section titled, “Lewiston Living Art Gallery,” the proposal calls for “a series of ten large scale, two-sided outdoor frames located along the brick path in Academy Park.
“The ten frames would alternate along the north and south sides of the length of the brick path, with five frames on each side of the center entrance.
“√ The proposed location is inside of the fence, on Village Property, and is not subject to DOT approval.
“√ The proposed location would not interfere with long-standing activities in Academy Park, such as the Peach Festival.”
In addition, “The artwork will be illuminated after sunset with solar-powered lighting.
“√ This open-air gallery will feature a changing display of art works curated by theme, by artist or by other commonalities that will change four times a year.
“√ Each exhibit will have a guest curator who is qualified to evaluate what should be displayed.”
The frames would be designed by metal art fabricator Dan Buttery, who recently created and installed the “Lewiston Landing” sculpture on North Water Street.
In the proposal, LCA states, “The frames themselves are artistic creations and their design will be the first of its kind:
“√ The frames will be able to rotate to display works that are oriented either vertically or horizontally
“√ Decorative motifs on the frames will be inspired by American Colonial furniture designs … and will harmonize with the Village aesthetic.”
Two design options exist for the 8-feet metal art frames: One with a clamshell-like peak, and the other with a more-rounded top.
Inside the metal art frames, “Early discussions of possible exhibits include
“•Selections from Lew Port School District Art Shows
“√ Student Artists
“√ Alumni Artists
“√ Historical Paintings of the Lower Niagara River Region
“√ Haudenosaunee Art and Culture
“√ Art by Veterans
“√ Portraits of local historical figures
“√ a mix of existing and newly created paintings
“√ ‘New York State of Mind’ ”
Moreover, “Programming and activities connected to the exhibits can take place in Academy Park, revitalizing this underused asset and bringing it regularly into the center of Village life.
“√ Art show opening events
“√ Conversations with the artists
“√ Tie-ins with other Village groups and cultural partners (Historical Society, Garden Club, Castellani Art Gallery, VFW) – that will further strengthen the ties between our community.”
LCA also further defined its plan for the “Lewiston”-carved benches, with suggested locations at:
√ Academy Park at South Ninth and Center streets (a new location)
√ Outside of Northwest Bank, near the clock tower at North Fifth and Center streets
√ Lewiston Landing, on Water and Center streets
The proposal states, “shuttle benches will be located at three stops in Lewiston for the Discover Niagara Shuttle. They are tastefully designed to complement the existing street aesthetic; their deep blue color references the Niagara River and the Discover Niagara shuttle logo identifies the shuttle stops for visitors who are seeking them out.”
It adds, “Shuttle stop locations have not yet been confirmed.
“•If the first stop were to be located at 9th and Center Streets, adjacent to Academy Park,
“√ first-time visitors will have clear, immediate access to the Visitor Center.
“√ shuttle riders who have traveled with their bikes on the bus can secure their bikes at the bike rack at the mural.
“√ shuttle riders will begin their stay in Lewiston with a visit to the mural and a walk through the Living Art Gallery
“√ Also of note, the Spirit of Victory, the LCA’s first public art project from 1998, is to be relocated to Academy Park.”
The “Lewiston Public Art Project” calls for a Maureen Kellick-designed mural wrapping the Academy Park comfort station. This element of the new proposal is similar to what was previously presented.
Here, the LCA states, “The collaborative concept of the four-wall Mural at Academy Park is a sweeping, continuous image reflecting the Niagara River’s abundant orchards, vineyards, and farmland, and the wildlife along the River. In addition to the mural, metal sculptural components … will provide visitors, cyclists, and residents with photo ops on all four sides of the building as they pause at this crucial rest stop along the Shoreline Trail. A custom bike rack adjacent to the south wall allows trail riders to safely store their bikes while they explore Lewiston.”
Public Input Welcome
LCA estimates the initial cost of the “Lewiston Public Art Project” to be $153,533. It seeks $90,000 in Greenway money, but so far is only approved for $30,000 per the recommendation of the Town of Lewiston.
The Village of Lewiston was asked to provide $52,720 of in-kind labor and materials for paving.
Art in Academy Park would also serve to benefit bike riders on an expanded Empire State Trail. A proposed new connection, funded by the Greenway, would traverse the south end of the park, go down Cayuga Street and out to River Road.
Tonight's joint Village Board meeting begins at 6 p.m. inside the Red Brick Municipal Building’s Morgan Lewis Village Boardroom at 145 N. Fourth St. The session is open to the public.