Last Saturday, September 15th, I reported (for tv station TV20) from the Cleveland Museum of Art covering the 23rd Annual Chalk Festival. It was such a fun event and luckily held on a gorgeous fall day. There was a mix of Featured Professional artists as well as amateur, young and old, male and female, school groups, companies and those that just wanted to work solo. The creativity of everyone that attended was outstanding! It was still early in the day (and the first day of the two-day event), but already so many great chalk creations!
I spoke with Robin VanLear who is the Artistic Director Community Arts for CMA. She gave me a brief history as to how chalk became an art medium. Beggars in 16th-century Italy would use chalk to create art on the streets and plazas as a way to entertain, much like musicians and magicians on the streets do now. This is where chalk art was born. It is cheap and easy to travel with compared to paint and oils. And your canvas is right where you stand!
One of the Featured Artists I was lucky to interview was Wendy Mahon. She is an artist that specializes in Mixed Media, and this was her 9th year at the event. She told me what she enjoyed most about creating with chalk was that it wasn’t permanent. She could create and do as she likes and then it will just fade away. “We don’t need to hold on to everything.” Talk about an eye opener, and not just in art. “Some things you just have to let go of.” Wow. She’s right though. In both art and in life there are some things that are meant to be temporary, and that is a part of the fun of the event. Your creation won’t last forever, but you can just be in the moment and enjoy!
Another featured artist I met with was Vince Ballentine. This was Vince’s first year being featured, but he has been participating at the event for years. The Chalk Art he was working on was an image based off of the current Youth and Beauty exhibit at the museum. It was an image of the old speaking to the young. From what I could see of his creation at that point it was going to be a bold, lively and beautiful piece.
After covering the event this year I already have next year marked as the first one I plan on participating in. If you love art and being creative I think you should consider it too!