Allentown Art Festival Inc.

Warm weather in Buffalo means that festival season is upon us! One such long-standing event that is synonymous with kicking off the summer season is the Allentown Art Festival.

Since 1958, the annual Allentown Art Festival has brought together uniquely talented artists from Western New York, across the United States and Canada, and thousands of festival goers for a celebration of art in Buffalo’s Allentown district.

“This year will be the 67th annual Allentown Art Festival,” said Philippe (Phil) Deterville, Treasurer of Allentown Art Festival Inc. He explained that the festival was started by a few businessmen who wanted to bring people downtown to promote the arts and also help generate more traffic for the small businesses. “The mission was really to promote the Allentown businesses in the area and to have a fun event to bring people downtown to enjoy the Allentown area.”

Over the years, the festival took off but eventually narrowed its focus to fine arts and crafts, both juried with required entry. Today, attendees can find everything from ceramics, paintings, and photography to unique jewelry, sculptures and more.

In addition to promoting Allentown’s small businesses, Allentown Art Festival Inc. strives to promote visual arts, which it does through encouraging artists to participate in its art festival, and through its scholarship program that supports students who are pursuing an art-related major at a two- or four-year college.

“There’s a rather long list of what art can include, such as fashion design, graphic arts, painting, sculpture and more,” said Phil. Each year, the Allentown Art Festival Inc. awards up to $30,000 to students across all eight counties of Western New York. Recipients are eligible for $2,000 their first year, and $1,000 each subsequent year for a total of $5,000 if they continue to pursue a degree in the arts field.

To support its scholarship program forever, Allentown Art Festival Inc. turned to the Community Foundation in 1997 to establish a scholarship fund.

“The board at the time decided that the money could be better invested in a foundation that could then manage the money with a much higher rate of return,” said Phil, who has a background in accounting. “When I joined the board and found out that the fund was at the Community Foundation, I was thrilled because of my previous great experiences with the Foundation. The funds are secure, the returns are superb, the communication is excellent, and the Community Foundation works with us to help us meet our goals with the fund.”

It also gives Phil peace of mind knowing that the fund will continue to support arts-focused students in Western New York forever.