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.”
Though he may also have pieces of art on display at the festival, Louie will mainly be there to participate as a special guest in the Chalk Walk, which has become one of the festival’s most prominent features.
The 25th annual WNY High School Chalk Walk Competition will feature artists from nine local schools. Student artists will be creating chalk murals, interpreting the “Year of Our Shared Waters” theme that marks this year’s celebration of our country’s peaceful border with Canada.
Children will have plenty to do at the festival as well, as the Hennepin Park Gazebo will offer numerous activities for the little ones, including opera and ballet performances, and of course, the ability to make art and bring it home, all for free.
Add all of these entertainment options to the oodles of art, live music and another appearance by Alicia Charlton, Master of the Chainsaw, and it’s no wonder the Lewiston Art Festival is getting bigger. Even if it’s not the biggest.
“(We’re) not the biggest, but we have a reputation for quality art,” Nicklas said.
“We’re hoping to make it a better festival than it’s ever been before.”
By Phil Dzikiy
LIFESTYLE: Make art part of Syracuse trip
I am not an art critic. I can’t pick out a Renoir from a Michelangelo to save my life, nor can I even define what the Impressionist period is.
But I know what I like. And I like the Everson Museum of Art.
- ART: The NACC presents Holiday Extravaganza, "Artists and Friends" Rachel Schiff was hanging her jewel-toned paintings in the Garden Gallery, admiring the soft light coming in from the giant windows and the beautiful marble floors.
- MUSIC: The songs (and paintings) of Ron Hawkins A lot of things have changed since Ron Hawkins was on the stage at Gateway Harbor in North Tonawanda in 2006.
- ART: Buffalo Society of Artists show hits Kenan Center The Buffalo Society of Artists is reaching out.
- ART: Warhol photo collection comes to Castellani "In the future, everyone will be world famous for 15 minutes.”
- ART: The Lewiston Art Festival In nearly every way, the Lewiston Art Festival is growing.
- LIFESTYLE: 'Body Worlds' challenges the mind, heart The “Body Worlds” exhibit was created as a vehicle for science, but it has stirred up emotions of a far different sort in pretty much every city that it’s visited.
- ART: NACC goes "Beyond the Barrel" The Niagara Arts and Cultural Center typically opens its “Beyond the Barrel” art exhibition at the end of June, but this year presented an opportunity that NACC staff couldn’t pass up.
- ART: 100 American Craftsmen descend on Lockport There will be art you can wear, art you can clean with and art you can drink from.
- ART: Jed Jackson returns for exhibit Thus, while the campus rocks this weekend, the Castellani will present the opening of “JED: 30 Years of Painting by Jed Jackson.”
- More Art Headlines
- LIFESTYLE: Make art part of Syracuse trip I am not an art critic. I can’t pick out a Renoir from a Michelangelo to save my life, nor can I even define what the Impressionist period is.