The International Chalk Festival has been taking place in Sarasota and Venice since 2007. Thousands of people come every year to experience 3D chalk designs by more than 100 international and local artists. This year, the festival’s theme is resilience.
Prior to the pandemic, Mexican muralist Carlos Alberto traveled the world sharing his paint and chalk murals at festivals. He attended Sarasota’s 2019 festival and will return this year, sharing his optical illusion drawings, which use the floor and walls to produce immersive work.
“I’ve been painting all my life and moved into chalk as a medium recently,” says Alberto. “One of the reasons I love working with chalk is you can create ephemeral pieces that people can enjoy during the creative process. They can be done quickly; you do not have to wait for each layer to dry.”
Alberto says the fact chalk can be erased easily with water is part of the medium’s charm. It can be appreciated during its execution, in the same way we experience live concerts, dance performances and plays. It survives as a memory in spectators’ minds.
Festival founder and artist Denise Kowal says watching these artists create in real time is mesmerizing. She also says the festival brings a lot of diversity to our town, since artists are attending from around the world.
This year, the festival will take place at the Venice Municipal Airport from Friday, April 1, to Sunday, April 3.
Chalk It Up
Every year, more than 100 artists attend the festival. This means more than 1,000 artists have made chalk murals in Sarasota since its start.
Artists travel from far and wide! Anton Pulivrenti is from Australia, Victor Puzin from Russia, Anat Ronen from Israel and Jiaoyue Lyu all the way from China.
The first chalk festival in 2007 was themed “the movies.” Since then, every festival has had a theme, from honoring veterans to love and peace to 3D illusions.
Artists use a special type of high pigmented pastel chalk and liquid chalk called tempera paint to make their creations.
For more information, a list of artists and to purchase tickets, visit chalkfestival.org or call (941) 488-8877.