Jessica Gadra’s Firebird is a featured work at this year’s Lewiston Arts Festival. (Submitted by Lewiston Arts Council)
Thursday, July 20, 2023 09:15 am
chalk walk expands
Submitted by the Lewiston Arts Council
The Lewiston Arts Council has announced 2023 Artist to Watch: Jessica Gadra. Her work “Phoenix” will be the image of this year’s art festival.
“I’ve been drawing since I could hold a pencil, but being an artist has always been my ‘and’. I’ve always been a (fill-in-the-blank) artist and an artist,” Jessica said. “I’m still struggling with it. It’s hard to stand up for yourself, but I think it’s good to have those doubts. It makes you work.”
Jessica’s work has been featured in children’s books, theater posters, the fashion industry, art galleries and commissioned works. A self-taught artist with her pen and ink, watercolors and pencils, she says she “extracts” the inspiration for her art from “a brew of old stories and timeless legends that speaks to all of us.”
The myth of the Firebird is transmitted across time and culture. Many versions of this tale arise from oral tradition, with a magically glowing bird at the center of tales of courage and challenging quests, heralding glory or doom.
In Jessica’s silhouette we see the young protagonist sitting on a blanket of forest animals. “The child has taken root in the forest (no kidding!) and tunes in to the whisperings of all the creatures that live there.” As the child sleeps, a mysterious bird perches in a tree. We see the moment when the child is fully awakened and filled with the fire of inspiration.
Jessica Gadra (submitted by Lewiston Arts Council)
Jessica won 1st place in the graphic arts and drawing category at the 2022 Arts Festival. She lives in Buffalo with her husband, author Alex Livingston (who published her Secrets of Secrets earlier this year). The two met while studying English at Canisius College and have been together ever since. To see more of Jessica’s work, visit http://jessicagadra.com/.
File photo of Chalkwalk
Lewiston Arts Festival Chalkwalk Opens for Community Groups and Families
This year’s Lewiston Arts Festival Chalkwalk is open to teams of all ages, with award categories for Youth Artists, Emerging Artists, High School Students and Senior Artists (individuals aged 18 and over). The theme for 2023 is “Choose Love”. There is also a cash prize on offer, and any Chalk Walk artist’s work could be considered the inspiration for Lewiston Village’s newest pedestrian crossing.
Lewiston Arts Council Executive Director Maria Fortuna Dean said: “We welcome students, clubs, groups and families to the challenge of creating chalk masterpieces.” “We are grateful to our new sponsor, First Presbyterian Church, and our returning sponsors, Keybank and Mt.
Registration deadline is August 1st. Applicants should find her form online at https://forms.gle/pAdzN9nBBffx9jre7 or contact Cindy Sanchez. [email protected] Or call 716-697-0798.
Lewiston resident Thomas Paul Asler won Best in Show for his painting “Leroy” at the 66th Annual Allentown Art Festival in Buffalo. Askler has exhibited at the Allentown Festival since his 1997, at the Lewiston Art Festival since 1989, and won Best in Show in 1990.
An art teacher at Country Parkway Elementary School, Askrall is a muralist whose work can be seen throughout western New York, including his latest at Hustler’s Tavern. Inspired by his deep lifelong connection to Niagara Falls, his paintings can be found in art collections throughout the United States, United Kingdom, Canada, Sweden, Switzerland, Germany, China and Japan.
“I am humbled and honored to receive this prestigious award,” commented Askra, an artist and educator. “I won many awards as a young artist, but at this point in my life I am very happy and satisfied to receive this award. My university professor and one of my heroes, the late iconic and prolific painter Joseph Piccilo, told me at my solo exhibition that I should never stop painting…and I never did!”