CLEVELAND (September 6, 2012) – The Cleveland Museum of Art will host the 23rd annual Chalk Festival on Saturday, September 15 from 11:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. and Sunday, September 16 from noon to 5:00 p.m. The Chalk Festival is a free, family-friendly event featuring street paintings in colorful chalk and live music. Professional chalk artists, local community groups, families and individual participants will demonstrate their chalk art on the museum's south-side pathways, which wind through the Fine Arts Garden and down to Wade Lagoon. For those wishing to participate, large and small squares and boxes of chalk are available with registration.
"The Chalk Festival offers visitors a chance to work side-by-side with professional street artists, creating a fascinating and varied mix of chalked squares," said Robin VanLear, the founder and artistic director of the Chalk Festival. "As the festival progresses, the pathways throughout the Fine Arts Garden take on the aspect of an incredible colored quilt spilling all the way down to the Lagoon. It's a wonderful opportunity for the community to come together and celebrate this art form."
This year, featured chalk artists include Vince Ballentine, Hector Castellanos-Lara, Dyane Hanslik, Wendy Mahon, Joshua Maxwell, Debra Sue Solecki, Sequoia Versillee and Robin VanLear with Robin Heinrich and Story Rhinehart. The artists will create artworks inspired by the ideas of youth and beauty. The museum's special exhibition Youth and Beauty: Art of the American Twenties closes on Sunday, September 16. School groups from Cleveland Institute of Art student life (Cleveland), Mayfield High School Italian language class (Mayfield Heights), Hawken School (Lyndhurst, Gates Mills) and Lake Center Christian School (Hartville) are also expected to display their chalk art creations.
The Chalk Festival is generously supported by AkzoNobel, makers of Glidden® paint.
Chalk Festival by the Numbers
Number of people participating in chalking in 2011: over 2,000
Number of squares chalked in 2011: 955
Approximate number of visitors in 2011: 15,000
Approximate weight of chalk used in 2011: 614 pounds
To enhance the experience at the festival, there will be musical entertainment by Delicate Balance Collective (DBC) on Saturday, September 15 and DubFlex on Sunday, September 16.
Delicate Balance Collective (DBC) was founded by Lynn Haney and Marcia Steele, the Cleveland Museum of Art's conservator of paintings. DBC creates a balance between rock, folk, swing, blues and island style music to achieve an eclectic sound. DBC also includes Mike Calhoun, original member of the Grammy Award-winning Daz Band.
DubFlex is a Cleveland reggae band founded in 1993 by Terrance D. Reynolds. The band blends authentic Jamaican reggae with its own musical stylings to create original songs and cover reggae greats.
Visitors wishing to chalk may register upon arrival. Groups are encouraged to pre-register by Wednesday, September 12 by calling 216-707-2483 or e-mailing firstname.lastname@example.org . Non-paid advanced registrations will be held until 1:00 p.m. on Sunday, September 16. Participation fee is $16 for a large square and a 24-color box of chalk and $8 for a small square and a 12-color box of chalk.
Parking is available in the museum's attached garage and on the street and garages around University Circle.
Prior to the festival, workshops will be held on Sunday, September 9 from 2:00 to 4:30 p.m. and repeated Wednesday, September 12 from 6:00 to 8:30 p.m. Workshop attendees will be able to choose either of the sessions and 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 and a square for the festival. Children under 15 must register and attend with an adult. Call 216-707-2483 or e-mail email@example.com  to register or request additional information.
Tremont Arts and Cultural Festival and Sparx City Hop
Coinciding with the Chalk Festival weekend, the museum's Community Arts program features Hispanic chalk artists Rafael Valdivieso (Saturday, September 15) and Dante Rodriguez (Sunday, September 16) at the Tremont Arts and Cultural Festival from noon to 5:00 p.m. at Lincoln Park. Other artists will create their art in chalk at the Sparx City Hop on Saturday, September 15 from noon to 4:00 p.m., including Mark Jenks in Novak Park (Ohio City), Anna Arnold in front of A Cookie and a Cupcake (Tremont, 2173 Professor) and A. D. Peters at the ArtCraft Building (2570 Superior Avenue).
About Chalk Festival
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 by Raphael and his contemporaries 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.