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.
Sarasota Chalk Festival, going vertical
They invited the artists to draw not only on the streets, but also on the sides of buildings.
This one completely amazed me:
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.
Artists chose their own designs, everything from Washington crossing the Delaware to World War II photos of family members and more.
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.
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.
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's official Instagram account.