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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    Tucson’s Chalk Art Festival brightens up Park Place Mall


    The sidewalks at Park Place Mall were transformed this past weekend into kaleidoscopic canvases open to artists of all ages.

    What is normally an outdoor area of benches and potted plants became a lively chalk art museum visited by hundreds of spectators, with cordoned-off spaces for both professionals and children wanting to try their hand at something more than sidewalk graffiti.

    The Southern Arizona Arts and Cultural Alliance, an organization that works to engage people in the local art culture, hosted the second annual Tucson Chalk Art Festival.

    Funded by various supporters throughout the area, 11 artists were selected to complete 8-by-6 foot chalk art murals for two days. The chalk art canvases stretched from the Total Wine and Sears entrance to the front of Macy’s.

    “Well, we’re all artists, but none of us are really chalk artists; we’re all artists in different mediums,” said Michael Schwartz, who was selected to participate in this year’s festival. “You’ve got a bronze sculptor here. You’ve got a muralist here. So each of us are in different mediums. This is just something we know how to do … I’m at that stage of ‘Why do you create art?’ — it’s to create beauty, to bring beauty into the world and to share that with people.”

    The festival gave each artist the opportunity to create a piece that exhibited his or her own style of work. Themes of these drawings varied from adoption awareness to Mexican culture and even pop art-like styles of a bright, yellow flower with stems that resembled octopus tentacles.

    Using only chalk, spray bottles and a few brushes varying in size, artists created expansive and temporary works of art to please the masses.

    “It was great. It was a chance to see the other artists work. I did water and did brush work onto mine and some of the other artists were like, ‘Oh, that’s cool,’” Schwartz said. “And that’s what part of being an artist is about — sharing, right? And, you know, challenging onto each other. And it’s nice. It’s nice to see that.”

    The Kidzone stirred creativity and imagination for children, including a considerably detailed chalk drawing of Santa Claus choking the Easter Rabbit. As the weekend continued, Park Place Mall became the exhibit for a community-oriented mural. These single-theme illustrations developed into an overall complex street mural by the festival’s participates.

    The chalk art murals can be viewed at Park Place Mall off of East Broadway Boulevard.

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