Toggle Sidebar

What is the Sarasota Chalk Festival Like?

Please share this story with your friends.

Back in November we ended up visiting family on Florida's Gulf Coast. We arrived in time for the annual Sarasota Chalk Festival, a community event designed to showcase of some of the world's best temporary art and artists. There's no rule that they have to be a professional. The only rule is that they can only create their art with chalk.

Every year the event has a theme. Last year's theme was “Circus City USA” because Sarasota is the home of Ringling Brothers Circus. This year they chose the theme “Legacy of Valor: Honoring veterans, inspiring patriotism”  and even erected a small Statue of Liberty in the middle of the street.

Street view of some of the artists drawing and a small Statue of Liberty in the distance

Sarasota Chalk Festival, going vertical

They invited the artists to draw not only on the streets, but also on the sides of buildings.

Chalked on side of a building for Sarasota Chalk Festival 2013. Picture of hands holding a camera.

This one completely amazed me:

black and white chalk on a multi-story building looks like a photo

Prepared to be amazed

We arrived early on Saturday morning to the sound of music playing from loudspeakers. Though the ads said the event was free, volunteers at the gate asked for donations as people entered. Who can blame them? The festival provides all of the artists' materials, and that can get pretty pricey. Good chalk sets can cost upwards of $500!

The artists had been hard at their work since the day before, creating beautiful pictures in chalk on the street, but it had rained overnight and water had gotten under some of the protective tarps. Some dabbed at their creations with cloths while others continued working and waited for the sun to dry things out. Still, there was a happy, upbeat mood. It didn't seem that they were letting the weather get them down. I guess it's all a part of the art form.

Chalking around the wet areas

Artists chose their own designs, everything from Washington crossing the Delaware to World War II photos of family members and more.

Woman copying a photo at chalk festival

Patriotic design being chalked onto the street

My favorite design was a massive chalk art picture that took up the entire street. As you can see, it was designed to be viewed in 3D.
sarasota chalk festival 3D artwork, taken through 3D lens

It's more than just pictures on pavement

During the festival people were able to take classes (for a fee) to learn the art form. There was a section devoted to young artists' work, both children and students. Even visitors could participate thanks to cubes covered in blackboard paint.

Cube covered in blackboard paint

If you come for the holidays, don't look for the artwork. All of the art was temporary. A few weeks later Sarasota made sure that every spot of chalk disappeared, thanks to a pressure washer.

Wall, it sure was good while it lasted.

If you'd like to see more, take a look at our Sarasota Chalk Festival gallery and Sarasota Chalk Festival on Instagram.

Do you enjoy street art?

Please share this story with your friends.

Written by Linda

Linda is multilingual and has been to over 50 countries. Her insatiable love of travel, cuisine, and foreign languages has inspired her to create As We Saw It with her husband Dan, a professional photographer. Her goal is to make travel easier for others and to offer a brief escape to another land.

You may also like...

5 thoughts on “What is the Sarasota Chalk Festival Like?

  1. Talk about something unique and cool! I have been to the Sarasota area times but I have never heard of this festival (I always visit during summer so that maybe the reason)! It must have been a real treat to watch these artists at work. Their work and overall creations displayed in photos are amazing. My favorite by far is the 3D design (totally understand why your love it)!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Follow As We Saw It on


Thanks for stopping by!

If you enjoyed this, please share it.