Chalk it up

Photo Credit: Edidiong Adiakpan

The color red blanketed the historic Houston Street for the annual Artpace festival, Chalk It Up, Oct. 12.

Now in its tenth year, Chalk It Up has become a San Antonio tradition for families to explore contemporary art and their community. Starting at Main Street and running all the way to Jefferson Street, Chalk It Up is dedicated to bringing the community together to enjoy the arts.

Artpace is described as “an international laboratory for the advancement of contemporary art” and “believes art to be a dynamic social force that inspires individuals and defines cultures.” This philosophy is why Artpace feels so passionately about holding a free and educational art event for the San Antonio community.

As stated by Artpace and Corporate Relations Coordinator, Marjory Newman, “Chalk It Up’s primary objectives include providing San Antonio families and schoolchildren with a platform to investigate and explore contemporary art.”

Many outlets for free family fun were spread across the four blocks with something for every age. At both ends of the event, the Kidzones were pulsing with energy as the children tried their hands at the Chalka Khan. This giant drawing machine allowed kids to produce intricate chalk designs by spinning circular gears. Activities like making screen-printed bandanas and monochromatic Linda Pace-inspired artwork were also available in this zone. The action continued with the freestyle area, where everyone was encouraged to grab a piece of chalk and draw designs or pictures of their own. Many people jumped at the opportunity to chalk all over Houston Street, typically packed with cars but transformed into a blank canvas for the day.

To help fill the canvas with as much chalk as possible, Newman explained that “Forty-five Team Works zones exhibited the creations of children and teenagers representing local schools, community organizations, and partnering cultural institutions.” One of the Team Works organizations that completed a chalk mural was UTSA’s Chi Alpha.

A super-sized street mural was led by the San Antonio Museum of Art. Here, aspiring artists of all ages were invited to get down on their hands and knees and chalk their creative ideas.

Twenty of San Antonio’s most talented contemporary artists set up over the Riverwalk and created fantastic original murals. Using a medium that might have been a little out of their element, the artists displayed their professionalism by creating beautiful murals ranging from realistic images to abstract designs.

In the heart of the event, by the Majestic Theatre, was a food court section filled with local vendors.

Also located directly in front of the Majestic was the event’s stage. Several local bands and DJs performed for the crowd, including Ken Little and the Rodeo Ho Ho. Ken Little is not only a past Artpace residency artist, but also a sculpture professor at UTSA. In his three piece band, he sings and plays guitar alongside Hank Harrison on fiddle and mandolin and George Gonzales on guitar.

With an average attendance of 20,000 people, it would have been impossible for Artpace to successfully run Chalk It Up without the support of its sponsors and a team of over 300 volunteers.

The presenting sponsor of Chalk It Up for the last two years has been Argo Group, with their headquarters located on Houston Street.

Chalk It Up will be back next year on the second Saturday of October.

More information on Chalk It Up and a full list of the event’s sponsors can be found at artpace.org.

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