LEWISTON, N.Y. (WIVB) — Planning is underway for the Lewiston Art Festival, in August. Organizers are optimistic, but keeping an eye on COVID-19 guidelines.
“It’s a morale booster and people need a glimmer of hope that normal life is on the horizon,” said Executive Director, Irene Rykaszewski.
While the council hasn’t decided if it’s a definite go, the festival is in its early planning stages. “You know, we are optimistically moving forward with the hopes the guidelines won’t be so restrictive,” she said Rykaszewski.
Those involved say that’s great news for not only the artists, but also local businesses surrounding the festival. “It’s a significant boost that had been lost last year and many of the businesse are holding on,” she said. “So we’re really hoping that we can do something.”
The festival generally hosts more than 170 artists but it will be a bit scaled down this year and following the latest CDC guidelines.
Many artists like Jess Tomaino are excited about this news! It’s what they’ve been waiting for. “Ah, it’s a huge sigh a relief to see festivals come back just to be outside again,” said Tomaino.
She’s been involved with countless festivals herself and says this past year she was one of many who struggled without them. “The vendor season is where they make most of their money and if they didn’t have a chance to show their work that means they didnt get a chance to sell their work,” she said. “Virtual just isn’t quite the same.”
But she says the pandemic was a blessing in disguise, as she switched gears opening up WAHI Studio in Newfane. And she’s now helping students share their creativity.
“I’ll have a selection of students that are really interested in pushing chalk curriculum,” she said “ I’ll have them bring their art to Lewiston.”
If the festival does get the seal of approval, it’ll be scheduled for august 14th and 15th.
Gabrielle Mediak is a reporter who has been part of the News 4 team since 2019. See more of her work here.