Denver Chalk Art Festival Celebrates 15 years – Artistically Inspiring
15 years ago along the prestigious Larimer Square shopping plaza art leaped from the minds of the artist onto the streets of Larimer and 14th, and artist Michael Rieger has been there all along. He spent three years as a chalk artist and on the board of directors of Larimer Arts Association. “For the past 12 years I have been the art director for the festival,” states Rieger and goes on to explain that they “want artists with all levels of experience and LAA rewards artists for coming back” year after year, but “we always have room for new artists.”
The success of the festival goes to all the hard work that each artists places into the 2 day event, however, “every square is underwritten and sponsored by a local business. This is a great way to support the artists community,” explains Rieger. Your business, large or small, can support this inspiring event for as little as $350.
This history of chalk art is just as interesting as the art that is created. According to the Chalk Art Festival Fact Sheet, “the event follows street painting traditions that originated in 16th century Renaissance Italy when artists began transforming asphalt into canvas using chalk. The artists were called “madonnari,” after their customary practice of recreating chalk paintings of the Madonna. Historically, madonnari were known for their life of travel and freedom, making their living from coins received from passers-by.”*
“With World War II came many hardships, greatly reducing the number of these artists. The art form was not officially brought back to life until 1972 when the small town of Grazie di Curtatone in Italy started the first International Street Painting Competition. Today, artists worldwide are taking to the streets, bringing with them new ideas, techniques, and excitement for this ancient form of expression. Handmade French pastels have replaced the simple chalks previously used and the paintings have become complicated images of traditional master-style works, modern pieces, and surreal chalk originals.”*
The chalk festival allows young and old to gaze upon the street art with child-like wonder. For a small donation, children of all ages can visit KIDS CORNER. Children are allowed to “let their imaginations soar while creating his/her own masterpiece” with sidewalk chalk.
Join Michael Rieger and the Larimer Arts Association for this years Chalk Festival Saturday, June 3, 10am-10pm and Sunday, June 4, 2017 10am-7pm. It is a family friendly FREE event, however, not a comfortable scene for our furry four-legged friends. Be sure to pack plenty of water and sunscreen as the sun usually shines bright with small chances of scattered rain. Here’s to seeing you at this delightful artistic adventure.
- Historical chalk art information gathered from the Chalk Art Festival Fact Sheet