Chalk It Up!

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Helen Roche

From stick figures to drawings that look so 3-D you think you might fall in, all are welcome and celebrated at the Cleveland Chalk Festival.

The perfect opportunity to get your hands dirty, and express yourself, while admiring others’ creations all around your feet.

The Cleveland Museum of Art will host the annual Chalk Festival through the 14-15th of September from 11 AM to 5 PM each day.

This event is free to attend and listen to live music. The fee to purchase your own 3×4 square box plus 24-color chalk set is $20, and for a smaller square of 2×3 square with a 12-color box of chalk is $10; a small price to pay for such an experience.

Although the art is temporary, the event hasn’t been. The Chalk Festival is celebrating its 29th year of bringing people together. But this tradition has been around much longer than 1990, take it back to the High Renaissance.

This event brings the tradition of 500 years back from the dead. According to the Cleveland Museum of Art website, in the 1500s, street art started out as a way to keep beggars alive on the streets. They showed off their replicas of Raphael’s “Madonna” to the public to get an advantage over their competition by earning more money.

From starting as a way of keeping the homeless from starvation with simple charcoal to being a common art form in the world with every color of chalk you can imagine

I interviewed Lizzie Roche; an artist who has been working for the Cleveland Museum of Art for many years, in particular as an artist at the Chalk Festival.

Q: “What’s your favorite thing or experience at the Chalk Festival?”

 A: “I love the atmosphere, especially in contrast to the parade. It’s much more relaxed, people are dirty, everyone is on the ground, there’s live music; raggae.  It’s also ephemeral. You are drawing on the ground outside. People will walk over it, maybe notice it, think about it, enjoy, and then it will be gone.”

A guaranteed great time at the Chalk Festival! Free music and entertainment, a chance to learn from the best artists, let loose and simply make the ground your canvas. Hope to see you there!