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From Buffalo Rising: The Allentown Art Festival is Officially Canceled by queenseye

The artist’s job is to be a witness to his time in history.

 – Robert Rauschenberg

It’s official. The Allentown Art Festival has been canceled for 2020 due to COVID-19. With so many uncertainties, the tough decision was made to keep Buffalonians as safe as possible, by social distancing for as long as it takes to flatten… and smash… the curve.

Instead of hosting one of the country’s largest art festivals in its usual manner, the Allentown Art Festival will be held, in some capacity, virtually online, according to Festival president Rita Harrington. “We are planning to do a virtual show,” she said, “We also have a limited edition commemorative poster for this year. We are selling them on our website with all proceeds going to the Food Bank of Western NY.”

The 63rd Allentown Art Festival will be a festival to remember, thanks to a virus that we would all like to forget.

Typically, artists fly in to town from all over the country, which means that they would have to book their flights early on. That’s just not going to happen with the current crisis at hand, and the unpredictable nature of the virus (and people). Then there’s the thought of having so many thousands of festival-goers gathered together, potentially spreading the virus.

Work is underway to create a virtual portal to view the artists’ works. Art enthusiasts are encouraged to purchase works of art from afar, to support the creators. People can visit the Allentown Art Festival’s website to view the works, access studio links, etc. The Art Festival store is also online, featuring the 2020 social distancing Festival t-shirts.

If you’re interested in getting your gloved hands on this year’s poster, you better act quick. It’s guaranteed to be the talk of the town (Allentown that is), for decades to come. This particular Allentown Art Festival poster will one day be a coveted collector’s item, to be sure, and a cautionary reminder that life can sometimes be stranger than fiction, and more unpredictable than art.


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