Monday, June 3, 2013

The Denver Chalk Art Festival

My husband and I attended the free Denver Chalk Art Festival this past weekend. More than 200 artists turn the streets of Larimer Square into a gallery of street art paintings of all subjects.

The Denver Chalk Art Festival is produced by the Larimer Arts Association, a non profit organization dedicated to promoting arts awareness in Denver.

The weather was beautiful this weekend, and the festival was very well attended.

It was fascinating to watch the artists complete their beautiful chalk art--many pieces were reproductions of famous paintings

This colorful  portrait of Marilyn Monroe attracted a lot of attention.

The artists are professional, amateur and student artists from around the country, although the majority are from Colorado.  To participate, artists must complete an application and submit a rendering of the artwork they intend to create during the festival. There is no cost to the artist and pastels are provided to them, unless they wish to use their own.

I liked the red rock background and "unplug" message of this artwork! I certainly have been "unplugged quite a bit these busy grand-parenting days!

A beautiful stylized Rocky Mountain scene in this drawing.

We attended the festival on Sunday afternoon, so many of the artworks were almost completed.

This curved drawing of superheros sitting at a table, was accompanied by a mirror from which to view it.

I thought this "yellow brick road' drawing would be a fun illustration for a child's room, as the brick road could begin on the floor and end with this drawing on the wall.

The event follows street painting traditions that originated in 16th century Renaissance Italy, when itinerant artists began creating art with chalk on the streets, in exchange for coins from passerby. The artists were called "madonnari," after their customary practice painting images of the Madonna.

Some of the portraits were very realistic.....

....and some were whimsical.

Just look at all the shades of chalk one artist was using!

There were so many artworks on display, that I could not possibly show them all, but I made photo collages of some that I liked.  All photos in this post can be enlarged for easier viewing by double clicking on the photo.

 Did you find a favorite drawing?

The city of Denver uses special street sweepers to remove the chalk drawings the night the festival ends. Since the artists layer an estimated 175 pounds of fine pastel chalk on the street, the sweepers ensure that the chalk is properly disposed of and will not pollute nearby Cherry Creek.  It is sad to see the artworks disappear, but the chalk artists look at their work as performance art, where the process of creating the piece is more important than the final result. They certainly brighten the streets of Denver for two days!

On our way back to our car we walked along the 16th Street pedestrian mall in Denver, where the "Keys to the City" pianos were still available for use to anyone who wished to play them. You can read about this program on my blog at this link.

Oh, and in case anyone worries that I miss the quirkiness of New York City, rest assured that Denver is also a city that offers sights you won't see anywhere else! (Smile)

It was also my husband's birthday this weekend and we celebrated with a barbecue at our house. He was happy to have two grand helpers help blow out his candles!

I love him so much!

It's not always easy to get all the grands together at a time, when they are all happy to take a photo, but I was able to gather our son and daughter and our three grandchildren for this photo before they went back to eating their ice cream cake!

 Thank you all for your very comforting comments about the passing of our family cat, Bo.  I really appreciated your sympathy as to how much a pet is part of the family.  He was the very best cat I ever had the privilege of sharing our lives with, and he will now be a part of our hearts and memories forever.

I'm adding this post to the following blog events:

Mosaic Monday
Blue Monday
Our World Tuesday
Outdoor Wednesday
Oh, the PLACES I've Been!

Thank you to all the blog hosts!

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Kris said...

Wow, that looks so fun!! I have always wanted to see one of those shows!
Happy Birthday to your husband! What a great photo of the both of you!
Loved seeing all the grands too!!
xo Kris

Art and Sand said...

Just wonderful.

Our local high school holds an amazing chalk festival each year in March. It is a two day event and one year it was rained out - our son was participating that year. Since then, they have done their drawings on brown butcher paper and actually sell them to earn money for the art program. There are some that would rival the art you showed.

Ola said...

some of them are a real piece of art!
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SwedishCorner ~ DownUnder...Pernilla said...

Happy Blue Monday :) Inspirational art!
Greetings from Australia♥ ~Pernilla

Happier Than a Pig in Mud said...

Wow, the chalk art is amazing Pat! That's a festival I'd love to attend:@)

Old Kitty said...

My favourite is the face of the monkey (could be an orangutan?)! It's just so peaceful to look at!! Awwww!

But what a brilliant brilliant festival!!! It's so good to see such art come to life for everyone - I love it!! And the piano too - there was one installed here at my station and it was a blast!! The kids (and kids at heart!) certainly enjoyed playing it!

HAPPY HAPPY BIRTHDAY to your most wonderful hubby!! Awwww and great t see the kids and grandkids together! Yay!

Take care

Sam @ My Carolina Kitchen said...

What a fantastic festival and such talented artists. You are having a great time in Colorado. I'm so sorry to hear about Bo. I feel your loss and miss my four-legged children so much.

Happy birthday to your husband. He must love having the grandchildren around.

Gracie said...

You have such a beautiful family!

Gardening in a Sandbox said...

Some amazing artists and artwork. Would be wonderful to see. I loved the photos of your beautiful family. Valerie

SmilingSally said...

I'm always blown away with artists like these. Thanks for sharing this adventure.

Your grand helpers are precious.

Happy Blue Monday, Pat.

Tracy said...

WOW... that chalk event is sensational! I don't think I've seen one quite like that before. Such a great celebration for your husband. Love seeing all the photos! Your grand-daughter has grown so much! :o) Happy Days ((HUGS))

Cafe au lait said...

Looks like a fun event. I played too. Mine are here and here.

Sarah~Magnolia Surprise said...

Wow, those are amazing! It would be hard to pick a favorite! It's too bad that they have to be brushed away so quickly, but the art will continue on in photos taken!
So glad you shared this -- fabulous!

Thoughts on Life and Millinery. said...

Oh my goodness! Salt Lake has an annual Chalk Fest and I have so wanted my Colorado Springs best friend to see it. I am sending her this post so she can put a reminded on her calendar for next year ( I am guessing this is an annual event!)

And guess what? Last summer we had pianos all over town too; I think it is a traveling concept sort of like the Cow Parade was a few years back. Such fun to see cities having fun events in summer.

By the way...are you going to visit the Denver Botanical Gardens soon? I hankering for another late spring/early summer look-see at that great garden again. May I count on you to deliver a peek?

Helen said...

Hi Pat! I couldn't get over the beauty of those chalk art pieces ... your photography skills are stellar!

My son is moving from Atlanta to the Denver area in the next few months - job related. He has found a real estate agent and is concentrating on the Broomfield Hills area. Do you have any thoughts about the best places to live north and west of downtown Denver?

Have a great week. It's lovely here in Bend this morning.

ellen b. said...

Such a sweet young family! You are blessed. How fun to celebrate your dear husband together, too.
Those chalk artists really are amazing...

Viki said...

Those chalk drawings are really amazing. They look like paintings. Wow!

eileeninmd said...

I would to see this festival! It looks so colorful, beautiful art too. I hope your hubby had a happy birthday! Cute shots!

Grace said...

Haha I love the NY Comment! Yes Denver has a Wizard I am sure we have one here in NY.. hahaha Sometimes I wonder what goes in peoples minds. I don't see it as much near work, (%6th and Fifth) but if I wander downtown you get to see it all. Beautiful artwork! I could not pick a favorite. Happy Birthday to your husband. Beautiful family so glad you are all together! Grace xoox

Betsy Adams said...

Gee--that chalk art is fabulous... SO much talent... I have NONE...Wow!!!! I'm impressed.

Happy Birthday to your sweet hubby. Love that photo of you two --and of the kids/grands... Awesome.


Gary said...

That street art is incredible!! Boom & Gary of the Vermilon River, Canada.

Fun60 said...

Such diverse art, it is difficult to choose just one.

Cindy said...

I meant to say in my last comment on the post before this one, that I'm sorry to hear that you've lost your cat. Pets are often a very important part of our lives.
What a wonderful sight to see all of the chalk drawings, I would LOVE to go to a festival like that.
My favourite was the Rocky Mountain scene. But they are all fabulous!!!
Your grands and children are lovely, how wonderful that you can be with them all in one place on a regular basis. What a sweet blessing family time is.

The Quintessential Magpie said...

Oh, Pat! For some reason I missed the info on Bo. I'm so sorry. I know how much you loved Bo, and my heart goes out to you, my friend.

Loved seeing all of these chalk artists, and my favorite painting was Marilyn. And that gnome??? Loved him. LOL

But more than all of that, I love that shot of the boys helping your big boy blow out his candles and the other shot of the kids and grands.

Happy Birthday to your beloved, and a Happy Blue Monday, too!



Faye said...

What a grand event and so much livlier that having the artist confined to one booth. My favorite photo was of all those bowls of pastels. Fav pastel-"Spring". Glad the grands could help celebrate bithday.

Ann said...

what a fun festival. Looks like a lot of very talented artists were participating

LV said...

I have been to Denver many times, but never got to see this. I am glad you shared as IO feel I was there through your lens. You have a nice family.

GratefulPrayerThankfulHeart said...

These artists are just amazing! The photos celebrating your husbands birthday are adorable. Sweet, sweet family!

Ocean Breezes and Country Sneezes said...

Hi Pat! Wow!!! What a festival that must have been to see in person. The chalk-art is amazing!

It's so funny that you mentioned the quirkiness of Denver, because when I opened this post I was wondering that exact thing!!! LOL!!! I'm happy to know you can find some quirkiness in Denver!!!

When's hubs b-day? Was it Sunday? Mine was!!! Love the photo of your kids & grand-babies!

Have a wonderful week! It was nice to chat!

Michelle said...

So much talent in the drawings! I cannot imagine creating these images with chalk.

On another note, I am sorry to hear about the passing of your cat. Our pets are part of our family, so I do understand your sadness.

Vee said...

I like the photo of your precious kids and grands best, but that's not chalk art...maybe next year. =D I think I like "Spring" best. What a great concept! Looks like a fun time.

Jim said...

Amazing chalk artworks.

Anonymous said...

What fun! Those chalk drawings are amazing!

Pamela Gordon said...

Wow, that is amazing and so beautiful! What a great idea. I guess a rainy weekend would put an end to this event so it's a good thing the sun shone. My favourite was the one of the boy playing outdoors with his cat. Beautiful! thanks for sharing and I hope you have a beautiful week. Pam

Jeanne said...

Good morning Pat, I love to see chalk art. What a wonderful event. Happy Birthday to your hubs. The photo of you both shows how happy you are. Your move was a wonderful idea and an adventure for a lifetime. Being near your grands is the best thing ever.
I remember the 'no humidity' in Colorado. When we skied I couldn't put enough moisturizer on. We love Colorado too.

xo, Jeanne

Welshcakes Limoncello said...

It looks a great place to be and I love the one of Marilyn. So sorry about your cat. x

Judy ~ My Front Porch said...

Wow...that's amazing! I don't think I could pick one favorite...from among all those great works of art. You are definitely finding lots of neat things to see and do in Denver!

Great photo...of your son, daughter and grands.

bj said...

This is so amazing. How I would love to see something like this.
And, that little fella is so adorable...

podso said...

Wow, Pat, what an amazing post! So interesting. I would have loved such a festival. Fascinating to watch, see the finished product and gaze upon all those rich colors of chalk! Thanks for taking all those photos to share with us! I can see you are enjoying Denver a lot!

Yvette said...

A belated Happy Birthday to Vinny, but I can see he had a wonderful time. It's nice to have those grandkids nearby.

Wow. You really are making yourselves part of the Denver 'scene', Pat. Just as you did in New York. I marvel at your energy.

I think you guys are loving Denver.

Happy@Home said...

Wow! It amazes me to see what these artists can create using chalk. Such talent they have.
It would be very hard to pick a favorite, but I am partial to the flower fairies.
How great that your hubby could celebrate his birthday with the grands. Very cute picture of them blowing out the candles.

SavoringTime in the Kitchen said...

What an amazing array of chalk art! I love them all. What a colorful and beautiful thing it must have been to behold.

Cathy said...

It's amazing what those talented artists can do with chalk! I've never seen anything quite like that. What fun to have those adorable little guys help blow out the candles.

Sue said...

what amazing art...I can't even imagine being that talented...I have only seen chalk art on the street once before and they were done in 3-D...that is really cool to see...It looks like your really enjoying your new happy for you and Vinny...

My name is Riet said...

Wow, how excitimg and beautiful that is. Great art and so Nice that people can show their work although it is only for two days.
Lovely hoot,s and I love the photo,s of your children and the one of you and your sweetheart is wonderful. Very happy couple.
Have a nice weekend.

Proud Italian Cook said...

Amazing talent, must be so beautiful to see it in person!
I just can't get over how happy you and Vinny look! Colorado and family suits you well!

Karen Mary Butterfly said...

What a great event! Beautiful artwork. It Looks like your husband had a nice birthday too! You look like a fun family!

Mary said...

What fantastic chalk art Pat and what fun it must have been to see it in person! Love Marilyn and the yellow brick road, sad to think of it swept away though. Happy belated birthday to your hubby :)

SizzleandZoom said...

This is fantastic! I really wish I were there.

Ann said...

The talent is so amazing. I think Marilyn might be my favorite, but they are all so good, its hard to pick. Your family is so darling, such sweet faces. My post is also about a place in Denver--your grands would love it.