LEWISTON — This year, the Lewiston Art Festival will transform the Hennepin Park Gazebo into a celebration of Iroquois art, music and culture this weekend.
New to the festival this year will be the Iroquois Market, which will gather local Iroquois instrumentalists, dancers, artisans, crafters and more to perform for the festival-goers and offer up their creations for sale.
Eva Nicklas, artistic director of the Lewiston Council on the Arts, said the idea of implementing an Iroquois Market has been in the works for a long time. She said they've been in the process of developing relationships with the artists and crafters on the Tuscarora Reservation for the past 25 years, but now, everything has finally come together.
"We're going to take over that park and turn it into an Iroquois Market," Nicklas said. "We're hoping to create an atmosphere of Native American music, dancing and artwork. It's going to be beautiful."
The Lewiston Art Festival, now in its 53rd year, will run from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday. The Iroquois Market will be open throughout the the duration of the festival with music and crafting events scheduled between 1 and 4 p.m.
The market will be hosted by Randy Greene and will include performances from the Niagara River Iroquois Dancers, a flute performance from Dan Hill, a corn husk doll activity with Jill Clause and more. Check the sidebar to this story for a full schedule of activities at the market.
Neil Patterson, who helped to organize the Iroquois Market along with his wife, Francene Patterson, said that there's a need to shed some light not only on forms of Native American art, but also on how much effort goes into it, especially when it comes to crafts like beadwork.
"We need to get it out there, a lot of people don't realize how much work goes into these things," Patterson said. "Historically, Lewiston and people of the Tuscarora Nation have been together for hundreds of years. It's just a good thing, that they did this."
The main festival will feature 175 artists, with at least a third of them being new to the event this year. Participating artists come from 13 different states, with some traveling to Lewiston from as far away as Florida or Texas.
On Saturday, local student artists from across the region will participate in the festival's annual chalk art competition. This year's theme is "Peace, Love and Chalk," a nod to the 50th anniversary of the iconic Woodstock festival, and judging for the competition will take place at 4 p.m.
The festival will span Center Street between Fourth and Eighth streets. In addition to the main festival and the Iroquois Market, there will also be College Alley, which features young artists and will be located near Eighth Street, and the Modern ArtZone, which will have free activities and face painting for children. That will be located between the Frontier House and Brickyard Brewing Co.
For more information on the Lewiston Art Festival, visit the Lewiston Council on the Arts online at artcouncil.org.
IROQUOIS MARKET SCHEDULE
• 1 p.m. - Welcome ceremony and introduction of host Randy Green
• 1 to 4 p.m. - Jitterbugs activity with Francene Patterson
• 1:15 p.m. - Niagara River Iroquois Dancers
• 2 p.m. - Longhaus of Lone Fashion Design with Faye Lone
• 3 p.m. - Dan Hill flute performance
• 1 p.m. - Niagara River Iroquois River Dancers
• 1 to 4 p.m. - Corn husk doll activity with Jill Clause
• 2 p.m. - Craig Wilkins
• 3 p.m. - Niagara River Iroquois River Dancers
• 4 p.m. - Daryl Tonemah
Other presenting artists include:
• Janet Dalimonte
• Jennifer Dalimonte
• Jamie Gilbert, Kay Brayley and Lisa Fitzgerald
• Desiree Henson
• Dolores Hill
• Avery Printup and Erwin Printup
• Jessica Porter
• Bryan Printup