Newspaper article Sarasota Herald Tribune

The Chalk Festival Is Bigger Than Ever

Newspaper article Sarasota Herald Tribune

The Chalk Festival Is Bigger Than Ever

Article excerpt

THIS WEEKEND

The Chalk Festival has become one of the most groundbreaking event of its kind, drawing local, national and international pavement artists to the area to collaborate, create and design.

"This year we will have even more 3D art than ever before," said festival founder Denise Kowal. "There's an almost unlimited amount of space out here, so artists are unrestricted in the size of work they create, the number they can make. It's the first time that the 3D artists will be able to expand and explore new ways of doing art."

The festival moved from Burns Court in 2013 to Venice in 2014, and it grows each year. More than 1,000 artists apply, and nearly 250 will attend this year. Many of the 3D artists, including the renowned Kurt Wenner, who invented the 3D illusion art in the 1980s, will be arriving early to get started on their designs.

While some of Wenner's past pieces have been enormous, this year's collaborative artwork is smaller, 25 square feet, featuring 32 figures.

"This year's theme is 'Love and Peace,' so the theme of the work is a kind of chess set that comes to life," Wenner said. "The idea is that these pieces have fought for hundreds of years and never gotten a conclusion, so they've decided to give it up and make peace."

Kowal said that many works throughout the festival would feature weddings, and visitors can even get married for an hour as part of the event.

"You can get married forever too, if you want," Kowal laughed. "There will be people here who can do that."

Wenner said he always looks forward to the festival for the opportunities to talk to other artists in person and "have a real relationship."

"Denise has the best artists in from all over the world involved," he said. "No other festival does what she does that way. It's great for me to see all these people and work with them and share ideas. …

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