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For plenty of Western New Yorkers, the unofficial beginning of summer comes during next weekend’s Allentown Art Festival. But for others it will be on Saturday, when visitors flock to the east lawn of the Albright-Knox Art Gallery for the popular annual art contest known as Art Alive. The event features teams of students (and a few adults) from across Western New York acting out creative interpretations of their favorite works of art, many which come from the gallery’s extensive collection.

In past years, buzzworthy entries have included a troupe of high school students in bodysuits jumping around like figures in a Keith Haring painting, a remarkably accurate live interpretation of Vermeer’s “Girl With a Pearl Earring” and a re-enactment of Jackson Pollock flinging black paint onto a white canvas as a girl dressed up like Lee Krasner looks on. The gallery will give out awards for the best tableau from the gallery’s collection, best craftsmanship and the “Off-the-Beaten-Path” award for most unusual entry, for which there will doubtless be a lot of competition.

The judging panel includes artist Kyle Butler, Buffalo Sabres alum Darryl Shannon, Anthony Amigone of Amigone Funeral Homes, Blue Cross Blue Shield exec Don Ingalls and his wife, Cindi Ingalls, Albright-Knox Director Janne Sirén and Congressman Brian Higgins.

Some 30 teams are expected to participate. For more information, call 882-8700 or visit www.albrightknox.org.

– Colin Dabkowski