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Florida: Sarasota Chalk Festival

"Last year the 2010 Sarasota Chalk Festival became the first international street painting festival in the United States," says the event's official website. This year's festival, Pavement Art through the Ages, attracted an estimated 20,000 visitors and featured 250 artists. From November 1-7th, South Pineapple Avenue in Burns Square was transformed into an outdoor gallery.

Gabrielle Abbot - “Street Painting is accessible to everyone because it is free and open. I love being able to use this art form to interact with the world. For me, the act of creating a painting is a meditation. Just like the Tibetan monks who create mandalas out of sand, the street artist spends hours concentrating on a drawing that will soon vanish. It is a lesson about the impermanence of beauty.” —chalkfestival.com

Julie Kirk-Purcell - "She is a world-renowned street painter and has traveled extensively creating her paintings, including throughout the United States and Europe, the Middle East and Asia.... Her experience as both a street painter and art professor lead to a request for her to author the first book devoted to the art form in it’s entirety, “Sidewalk Canvas”, which focuses primarily on technique and materials as well as history and leading artists in the field." —chalkfestival.com

Cuong Nguyen - "Cuong’s paintings depend on the dramatic portrayal of light, shadow and environment to create their mood and sense of realism. He often supplements the emotions visible in his subjects’ faces with symbolic imagery that adds a sense of mystery. He believes that a successful painting requires that he establish an emotional connection with his subject, so that the viewer in turn connects at an emotional level with his work." —chalkfestival.com

To see the artwork yourself, you'll find photos online. Or, for a better look: order the Sarasota Chalk Magazine 2011, which includes information about the chalk artists as well as the street performers and musicians from the event.

Last year (and according to the event website), the festival was intended to last several weeks as the artwork would fade naturally, though the plug was pulled after just one week as the artwork was power washed away. Apparently this was planned for ahead of time, though many locals were unaware and dismayed at losing a chance to see the art for the first time, or for a second time to see the works completed rather then in progress. Reported by the Herald-Tribune, this decision was in reaction to last year's event, when "an artist... used paint that proved nearly indelible. The city-issued permit for 2011 required that the art be entirely removed by the time the street was reopened at 7 a.m. Tuesday."

“It’s an ephemeral art form,” commented Denise Kowal, festival director. “It’s a fleeting moment, and that’s part of the charm. The artists are OK with it and so am I.”

The Herald-Tribune covered this topic in an article as well as this video:

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@ 4:24 AM, Anonymous SamImports said...

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