Bayshore Chalk Art Festival features artists of all ages and abilities

Last updated on July 2nd, 2019 at 09:45 am

More than 60 artists colored the streets of Bayshore Town Center at the sixth annual Chalk Art Festival Aug. 18-19. Presented by Bayshore Town Center, the City of Glendale and the Riverwest Artists Association, the free festival joined local and national artists who each brought their own style to the street.

The Chalk Art Festival tradition began with the vision of MP Theriault, marketing director of Bayshore Town Center. Theriault said she had seen other chalk events and wanted to bring the concept to Bayshore. She worked with Milwaukee artist Kitty Dyble Thompson to make the first festival a success.

“I love that the streets of Bayshore can become a canvas for the great artists that we have here,” Theriault said.

Since its start, the chalk art weekend has continuously gained artists and viewers. The first year drew 14 artists while this year it featured 64. Theriault credits word of mouth for much of the festival’s growth.

Some artists worked in teams. Theriault said this year included both a mother-daughter team and a husband-wife team.

In selecting artists, Bayshore required participants to submit samples of their artwork. Theriault ensured all abilities were included.

The festival also invited kids to explore chalk art with a designated area where they could practice their sidewalk chalk techniques and showcased art demonstrations by the Riverwest Artists Association.

Without a theme to constrict artists, the creations ranged from an image of Olympic swimmer Michael Phelps to a drawing of the board game Operation to a colorful cast of butterflies.

“Artists draw on what their interests are,” artist Thompson said.

Thompson, a chalk artist, illustrator, muralist and fine artist, has participated in the festival all six years. She said part of the beauty behind the festival is the shared experience between artists and admirers. While most artists work alone in studios, the Bayshore festival opens up a dialogue between artists and community members.

“It’s just wonderful to have this interaction back and forth,” Thompson said. “It’s part of the artwork.”

“And because it’s going to be gone, (viewers) really are part of that artwork because they saw it and they captured it on their camera and hopefully will come again next year,” she said.

She also loves the camaraderie among artists of all backgrounds and skill.

“Where else can children and adults work side by side?” Thompson said.

“And where else in your life can you be drawing and can you hear ‘good job’ that many times?” she said.

Besides watching the artists at work, attendees had the opportunity to vote for their favorite pieces Saturday. Voting categories included People’s Choice, Most Likely to be Hung in a Museum and Best Use of Color.

According to Theriault, the art that ends up on the pavement each year always surpasses her anticipation of it.

“Even though (the artists) always tell us what they’re going to do, it always goes way beyond my expectations of their final product,” she said.

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