Niagara Gazette — It was a spectacular beginning for a special place, and a time Artpark board member and former Lewiston resident Rose Gellman will never forget.
“We were the luckiest people in Western New York when Artpark opened. The opening night was as magical as any red carpet event in either New York or L.A.”
By design, Artpark was intended to bring world-class entertainment to Western New York, and make it accessible to the masses. Rose called it an opportunity to enjoy “big city” events in a smaller town.
That first performance proved to be exactly that, and there was an indescribable excitement in the air even before the first notes of music played.
“It’s beyond what I can express. That evening we had tremendous pride, enthusiasm, passion for the arts. We can’t live in a world without arts, and that was the beauty of Artpark.”
“When I walked in the amphitheater that night all I could feel was awe. It was like everybody was there and you wanted to talk to them all. It was one big party for everyone to enjoy. There were people from all walks of life attending the event.”
It will be difficult to create that same kind of magic tonight, but as patrons walk into the amphitheater tonight, including Rose Gellman, there will surely be a different sense of pride, one of accomplishment and success for an institution that has thrived. Artpark was then, and is now, and will always be, a verb.ARTPARK SERIES • This is the third part of a series looking at the past 40 years of Artpark. Look for parts 1 and 2 on our website. Thom Jennings covers Artpark and the local music scene for the Niagara Gazette.