CLEVELAND (Aug. 9, 2010) – The Cleveland Museum of Art will hold its 21st annual Chalk Festival on Saturday, Sept. 18, from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sunday, Sept. 19, from noon to 5 p.m. Members of the community are encouraged to create their own street paintings using colorful chalk alongside featured artists. As always, there is no charge to enjoy the art and entertainment. New this year, visitors also will get a sneak peek at the draft designs for several community mural projects that will be installed this fall in East Cleveland, Fairfax, Glenville and Hough.
The museum's Chalk Festival brings an Italian Renaissance tradition to Cleveland. In 16th-century Italy, beggars would use chips of charcoal and chalk to draw on the market plazas outside of village churches. They often replicated the church paintings of the Madonna and became known as I Madonnari, or painters of the Madonna. Today, this artistic tradition is celebrated annually in Europe, Africa and the United States. The Cleveland Museum of Art's Chalk Festival is the second oldest in the country. Last year, 1,500 participants chalked their own masterpieces and 14,000 spectators came to view the artwork.
This year's featured chalk artists will use the museum's collection, especially the recently unveiled galleries, as inspiration for their paintings. They include artists and educators Barbara Chira and Wendy Mahon; Dante Rodriguez, co-owner of the local Wall Eye Gallery; and Joshua Maxwell, a student at the Cleveland Institute of Art, who was invited to join the featured artists after an impressive turn as a past festival participant. Robin VanLear, Chalk Festival founder and artistic director, will also create artwork for the event.
New to the festival this year is the opportunity to preview the museum's community mural project. Part of the Cleveland Foundation's Community of Relationships effort, the mural project is a collaboration in which the museum links professional artists with community groups. Cleveland artists Ed Parker, Neal Hamilton, Jerome White and Anna Arnold will lead communities in East Cleveland, Fairfax, Glenville and Hough, respectively, in creating large-scale murals for selected locations in their neighborhoods. Chalk Festival participants and attendees will have the chance to preview the mural designs as the groups chalk the full mural cartoon (sketch) during the weekend.
The Chalk Festival will take place on the museum's south-side pathways, which wind through the Fine Arts Garden and down to Wade Lagoon. The Chalk Festival is free to visitors wishing to enjoy the artists and listen to the musical entertainment. The fee for those who choose to participate as chalk artists is $16 for a large square and 24-color box of chalk, and $8 for a small square and 12-color box of pastels, which participants may keep following the event. Children under 15 must be accompanied by a supervising adult.
Register upon arrival. However, groups only are encouraged to pre-register by Sept. 15 by calling 216-707-2483 or e-mailing commartsinfo [at] clevelandart.org. Non-paid advanced registrations will be held until 1 p.m. on Sunday, Sept. 19.
Parking is available in the museum's attached garage or at metered spaces and garages around University Circle.
During the festival, visitors will be able to enjoy the music of DubFlex on Saturday, Sept. 18. DubFlex was founded in 1993 by Terrance D. Reynolds (also known as Ras T) and has an impressive catalog of seven albums and numerous live recordings. The band blends authentic Jamaican reggae with its own musical stylings to create original songs and cover reggae greats such as Bob Marley, Dawn Penn, Inner Circle and Shaggy.
On Sunday, Sept. 19, Cats on Holiday will take the stage to entertain the crowd with its musical fusion of roots/Americana/zydeco genres. This "hard rockin', swamp poppin'" Northeast Ohio band regularly plays in venues around town, inspiring spectators to rise to their feet and dance to original tunes and an eclectic blend of well-known party songs.
Prior to the festival, workshops will be held on creating street painting. Workshop attendees will be able to make their own pastels using old-world recipes and new materials, as well as learn professional techniques for masking, stenciling, shading and enlarging pictures. The workshop cost is $25 for individuals and $75 for families of three or more; the fee includes materials and reserves chalk for the festival and a square. Those interested can choose sessions on either Sunday, Sept. 12, from 2 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. or Wednesday, Sept. 15, from 6 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. Children under 15 must register and attend with an adult. Call 216-707-2483 or e-mail commartsinfo [at] clevelandart.org to register or request additional information.
Tremont Arts and Cultural Festival
Coinciding with the Chalk Festival weekend, the museum's Community Arts program will also present Hispanic chalk artists Augusto Bordelois (Saturday, Sept. 18) and Hector Castellanos Lara (Sunday, Sept. 19) at the Tremont Arts and Cultural Festival from noon to 5 p.m. at Lincoln Park.
The Chalk Festival is supported by the Cleveland Foundation, the Cleveland Clinic and Ernst & Young. The Cleveland Museum of Art is generously funded by Cuyahoga County residents through Cuyahoga Arts and Culture. The Ohio Arts Council also helped fund this program with state tax dollars to encourage economic growth, educational excellence and cultural enrichment for all Ohioans.
About the Cleveland Museum of Art
The Cleveland Museum of Art is renowned for the quality and breadth of its collection, which includes more than 40,000 objects and spans 6,000 years of achievement in the arts. Currently undergoing a multi-phase renovation and expansion project, it is a significant international forum for exhibitions, scholarship, performing arts and art education. Admission to the museum has been free since its founding charter.
The Cleveland Museum of Art has a membership of more than 21,500 households and is supported by a broad range of individuals, foundations and businesses in Cleveland and Northeast Ohio. For more information about the museum, its holdings, programs and events, call 888-CMA-0033 or visit www.ClevelandArt.org