LEWISTON – Mounds of garbage left behind after any successful festival can put a damper on an otherwise positive experience.
So the Village of Lewiston has issued a proclamation declaring “The Art of Green Weekend,” promoting efforts to “go green” and create a more environmentally friendly Lewiston Art Festival on Aug. 10 and 11.
The Lewiston Council on the Arts, which sponsors the festival, will expand its efforts to recycle and compost at the event in a partnership with Modern Recycling.
“No more Styrofoam clamshells,” said Irene Rykaszewski, executive director of the arts council. All food and drink vendors will be required to use compostable and recyclable products.
“Green Team” volunteers will assist the public in proper disposal of trash. Trash stations, created by Artpark campers, will be located throughout the festival. Under the guidance of Tanis Winslow, campers have decorated 16 recycling bins to be used at the event. These bins will also be recycled and will be stored at Modern Landfill to be made available for community groups to use at other events.
The public also will be able to vote with their greenbacks for their favorite design, with the proceeds going to local environmental groups.
The KeyBank 29th annual Chalk Walk Competition, from noon to 4 p.m. Saturday, will have an environmental theme with teams of student artists creating chalk murals based on the 2013 slogan: “Forces of Nature: Earth, Air, Fire and Water.” The theme was inspired by the ancient belief that all life is composed of those four elements.
During the festival the “Modern ArtZone” will once again feature a free hands-on activity where everyone gets to create art with recycled materials provided by Sunnking Electronics Recycling. Last year the business donated a pickup truck of small pieces. Sunnking’s talking robot, constructed from recycled materials, will also be back to entertain festival-goers.
Rykaszewski said the arts council started its efforts to go green on a small scale at last summer’s festival, but expanded this year when Modern Disposal got involved as a sponsor and donated recycling and composting facilities.
“Last summer we sort of dipped our toe in that water,” she said. “Everybody was kind of figuring it out last year. Last year was our initiation. Since then we have been meeting once a month with the staff at Modern Recycling to really plan this out.”
She said last year festival organizers tested having food venders use recyclable materials, but this year recycling is a requirement to participate. Local business in Lewiston also will be encouraged to participate and will be acknowledged for their efforts with a mention in the program and a green window decal to display.
She said even this year’s festival T-shirts are made from recycled plastic bottles and organic cotton.
“Who knew? It looks like a regular cotton T-shirt and it’s a beautiful design that incorporates endangered species,” she said.
Rykaszewski said organizers hope the green initiative will catch on with other festivals. She praised the village for its “Art of Green” proclamation.
“Our thinking is just for these two days in the village, let’s encourage everybody to be a little more aware, because it’s a tiny, beautiful, historic village. We’ve got an influx of tens of thousands of visitors and that creates a burden on the community, in terms of environmental impact,” she said.
Of the Styrofoam clamshells that had piled up in garbage cans at previous events, she said: “It’s a great sign that there are a lot of people around and they buying things and patronizing the local businesses, but there’s got to be a better way to dispose of their leftovers.”