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LETTERS

Lewiston should stop whining about Artpark

I think about it lots but have never done it: write letters to the editor, but this Artpark is getting under my skin.

Why don't the "Lewiston Whiners" [who have expressed concern about noise and traffic during free concert events] move to Youngstown?

There is one gas station which serves pizza, etc. (takeout too); one grocery store (Melloni's); one drugstore (Rite Aide); one auto repair shop; four eateries, of which three serve alcoholic beverages; four churches, plus annual Youngstown Yacht Club Regatta; soccer tournament and age-old Fireman's Field Day.

It can't grow any larger because we have the Niagara River on the west and Lake Ontario on the north. In the past few years, they have started having music in Faulkner Park on Friday nights, the Village Picnic also at Faulkner Park, while the Town of Porter has their annual picnic at Porter on the Lake Park.

Artpark is only operational for approximately 4 1/2 months out of 12 and brings in a good deal of revenue to the businesses of Lewiston. Are the "Whiners" upset about the Jazz Festival [Friday and Saturday], which closed down several blocks of Center Street? What about the Art Festival, which also closed up part of Center Street, along with other festivals? The Peach Festival is coming up, which encompasses three days.

Some of the bars cause noise and congestion, and all these events involve parking and traveling over side streets by the attendees.

I grew up in Lewiston, moving to Youngstown in 1949, and to this day can find other ways to get around Lewiston on a regular basis rather than use Center Street -- with its traffic lights, and especially when there is some festivity going on -- and when leaving either upper or lower parking lots after volunteering at Artpark.

Sybil Balcom

Youngstown

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Thanks for all the help with Art Festival

Wonderful and varied artists, record crowds, and a relaxed and family-friendly ambience made for yet another exceptional festival experience in Lewiston last weekend. Despite the dire predictions for Sunday's weather, the rain held off, and we had two wonderful days of art, music, food and fun.

The Lewiston Art Festival is supported by an amazing group of staff, board members, and volunteers too numerous to name and thank individually. A special thank-you to those board members and friends who gave us their weekend: Marija Vukcevich, our volunteer coordinator; Carrie Veltry, who ran art activities at the First Niagara ArtZone; Jacquie and Jim Lodico and Gene Kolbago, who catered a lovely VIP reception; and Elizabeth Davis, Claudia Marasco and Liz Kovacs, who took the 5 a.m. shifts on the street.

Thanks also to Fay Northrop and her volunteer crew for another amazing KeyBank Chalk Walk event, and the committed teachers and imaginative students who created spectacular interpretations of our diversity theme. A special thanks to all our media friends for writing about us and giving us so much publicity in the weeks before the event.

It took scores of volunteers working behind the scenes to make the event run smoothly and a golf cart on loan from Joe Ciccone to help us repeatedly run the length of the show.

As a community-based Art Council, we rely on our Lewiston police, Lewiston Fire Company No. 1 and Village Public Works to help us play host to tens of thousands of visitors, putting a significant strain on the community. We are grateful to Mayor Collesano and Trustees Sutherland, Eydt, Mudd, Krell and Village Clerk/Treasurer Ann Welch for their support in providing the infrastructure to support the Art Festival and literally, make it possible.

Our Native American friends, artists Erwin Printup, Karen Hodge-Russell and Simon Brascoupe, added another new dimension to the festival with the Iroquois Art and Culture tent.

We have inherited from previous Art Council administrations an "artist-friendly" tradition that ensures that our exhibitors have a pleasant and profitable Lewiston experience. Without the artists, there would be no festival, and it is because of these outstanding artists that we maintain our reputation as a premier Western New York event. It was a great weekend in Lewiston.

Irene Rykaszewski, executive director, Lewiston Council on the Arts

Lewiston