Street art hits the ground at Chalkfest

It’s a safe assumption that most kids love drawing with chalk, whether on sidewalks, patios or driveways – and possibly on interior walls and floors, but let’s not go there.  

For many adults, it also brings back fond memories of their own childhood, spending hours playing hopscotch or simply creating their favorite doodles outside. After all, drawing on a chalkboard – a canvas meant for, well, chalk – is not nearly as exciting as drawing on a surface not purposely built for those creative pursuits. Not to mention the added excitement of waiting for the rain to wash it all away so you can start all over again.  

These days, chalk drawing has become a new public art form in many communities. Also known as street painting, chalk drawing has been showing up in dedicated festivals all over the world, with artists creating live for all to see and appreciate, as well as for competitions.  

In Cayman, artists are gearing up for Saturday’s annual Chalkfest from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. along Market Street in Camana Bay.  

Come one, come all 

Regardless of age or ability, participants are encouraged to leave their easels at home and use the scenic streets at the Town Centre as their open canvas to create chalk art. Participants will vie to become chalk champion, with prizes awarded for the best artist in each age category: primary (5-10 years old), middle school (11-13), high school (14-17) and adult (18+).  

Now in its 11th year in Grand Cayman, Chalkfest adds a new element. Michael’s Genuine Food and Drink is launching “Chalk it Up to Genuine Family Fun” on the day to promote their own chalk event outside the restaurant every Saturday from noon to 8 p.m., coinciding with their new family-style menu featuring such childhood-inspired foods as rainbow ice cream.  

History 

When Chalkfest began in 2003, it was presented by the National Gallery as part of Cayfest. Recognizing the need for art in the community, Camana Bay has sponsored Chalkfest since 2008, and in 2011, it took over the event, which continues to grow each year.  

Molly Dalby and Davina Tressider, the event managers of Chalkfest, said they are honored that the National Gallery entrusted them to put on the event. 

Dalby says they have fun preparing it each year “knowing that we are providing a welcoming ground for creative expression.”  

Artist James Lochner, a Camana Bay Farmers and Artisans Market vendor, has been Chalkfest’s featured guest artist for the past two years and will be at the event again on Saturday creating one of his “must-see masterpieces,” according to Dalby.  

Tresidder says, “The winner in the adult category for 2013, Carmen Gorham, had an impressive piece that set the bar high for adult competitors, so the challenge is on for adults this year.”

Registration fee is $5 for kids and $10 for adults, with proceeds benefiting the National Gallery. Free chalk will be provided. Participants are encouraged to bring rags, sponges and buckets to help with blending and covering large areas. Free water and sunscreen will also be available for all participants. 

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Last year’s Chalkfest provided loads of drawing space.
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