Tonawanda News


August 6, 2009

ART: The Lewiston Art Festival

By Phil Dzikiy

In nearly every way, the Lewiston Art Festival is growing.

Reputation, crowds, artists, physical space ... it’s no surprise the festival is becoming one of the most respected art festivals in Western New York. That respect starts with the artists, according to Eva Nicklas, artistic director of the Lewiston Council on the Arts.

“It is a festival for the artists,” Nicklas said. “The artists are our first and foremost concern. We roll out the red carpet as much as we possibly can.”

That philosophy has served the festival well. More than 175 artists from all over the country will be coming to Lewiston this weekend to showcase their wares in multiple categories: painting, photography, graphic arts, sculpture, artistic crafts and jewelry.

The festival used to be confined to the sidewalks of Lewiston’s Center Street. Last year, it took over the street itself. This year, it will take up even more area, shutting down Center Street all the way from 4th Street to 8th Street.

“I don’t think the street has been closed to 8th Street for a whole weekend in Lewiston, ever,” Nicklas said.

The expanded space should be more comfortable for artists and visitors, Nicklas said. A few small businesses have voiced concerns about the new setup, but Nicklas is confident that everyone will be happy with the way things turn out. After all, the two-day festival will likely draw about 30,000 people to a four-block stretch in Lewiston.

The festival’s artist-first attitude helped score Travis Louie as this year’s featured artist. Louie is an artist with a national reputation — he recently appeared at the San Diego Comic-Con.

Louie’s paintings are distinct, often focusing on strange creatures in black and white or minimal color. According to Louie’s Web site, the artist has “created his own imaginary world that is grounded in Victorian and Edwardian times.”

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