Tonawanda News

Local News

August 18, 2013

Project 308 hosts art festival on Oliver in North Tonawanda

Tonawanda News — Natalie Brown, owner of North Tonawanda’s Project 308 gallery, took a page from her father’s book Saturday and brought back art to Oliver Street as part of a day-long festival.

Brown’s father, Paul Brown, was the originator of a successful art festival on the street in the mid to late 2000s. Brown said she wanted to re-establish the event to bring arts back closer to the community and residents who live around the gallery. 

“I took tips from my father, but am also doing it all in my own style,” she said. 

More than 50 vendors set up shop in Oliver between Schenk and Robinson streets for the festival, which celebrated the one year anniversary of the opening of Project 308. Many of the artists who took part Saturday have displayed their art at the gallery, Brown said. 

After a year of success, she said she was happy to celebrate.

“We have expanded a lot since the first show, and everything has been going very well,” she said. “I just feel so lucky that I am able to do this ... some cities wouldn’t allow you to close streets and have a fest, but everyone here has been so helpful.”

Vendors at the event offered a huge range of creations, including handmade clothing, jewelry, paintings and photographs. Sherri Marranca, who was the first artist to display her work at Project 308, was one of the artists on hand Saturday.

Marranca started painting about 10 years ago after being inspired to create work that her young daughter, who is blind, can appreciate. She has since been featured on the “Today” show. 

“Everything is very durable, and everything has texture so you can touch it to experience it,” she said. 

Kailee Brohman, another painter, was publicly displaying her art for the first time Saturday. She was thankful and nervous for the opportunity, but also expressed gratitude for all that Brown has down for the area.

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