BARTOW — Forget the white chalk outlines of four-square boxes, stick figures and round-faced cats with whiskers on the sidewalk at school.
Chalk art, a rejuvenated art form that has become increasingly popular, is sweeping through art circles and Bartow is caught up in it.
Main Street Bartow will present the Second Annual Chalk Walk Festival, to be held Oct. 5 – 6 from 8 a.m. until 5 p.m. in Fort Blount Park.
Twenty-five chalk artists armed with their sketches and other plans for the chalk drawings will claim their 10x10 areas the first morning.
“The artists come up with their own designs from whatever inspires them. There is usually a diverse range from classical, to superhero to cutest, to still life,” said Trish Pfeiffer, an event organizer and Bartow City Commissioner. “It’s always fun to see them take shape.”
Because Florida pavement and cement can be more than hot even during the early days of October, the event will be held in Fort Blount Park.
“The artists will be there early because it is cooler,” Pfeiffer said. “It is not easy being on your hands and knees for eight hours. They take breaks, kick back and chill for a while and then get back to it.”
Pfeiffer, who is also an artist, was first introduced to chalk art during a vacation to Italy. She organized Chalk Walk after two friends suggested she design an event in Bartow centered around the medium.
"We look forward to rolling out our chalk painting sidewalks as the canvases for artistic expressions that will come alive with color, energy, vibrancy and a unique art form that continues in popularity for artists, and captivates art lovers from all over the state," she said. “Over the two days, the artists will be blocking, filling in, blending, contouring and shading until their work is complete.”
Since the artists begin with blank slates on Saturday morning, it is important to remember that chalk art takes time.
“It is fun to see the progression and the color that transforms concrete into beautiful works of art all from chalk,” Pfeiffer said. “People come back on Sunday to see the finished pieces and they can then vote on their favorite in the People’s Choice Award.”
This year, Abraham Buricago from Mexico, will again join the event. Last year, he was the winner of “Most Popular Artist,” and the “Sheriff’s Choice Award,” for his outstanding chalk art drawing.
Everyone is invited to attend the free event and enjoy entertainment from acts such as Kitchen Killaz, Mike Monts De Oca and Matt Campbell.
Children will also enjoy "Fun Chalking for Kids" held in a hands-on chalk crafts tent sponsored by Indigo Moon, a Bartow merchant.
On Sept. 29, Cass Womack, the event’s artistic advisor, displayed a vertical piece of two colorful birds for early viewing at the park.
Three prizes will be awarded on Sunday at 3 p.m. For $1, attendees can submit a vote for their favorite chalk art for the People’s Choice Award. Sheriff Grady Judd will present the Sheriff’s Choice and the event sponsor, the Frost Law Firm, will the Sponsor’s Award.
Other sponsors are Visit Central Florida; Patel, Greene and Associates; Max 98.3; Kelley Buick GMC; MidFlorida Credit Union; and WWBF Radio.
For more information, visit the event’s Facebook page.
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