The concept for a chalk art event may have originated in Italy, but the New Smyrna Beach version of a chalk art festival is a growing popular event in Florida.
The second annual Chalk It Up! Sidewalk chalk art competition will be Saturday, Feb. 23, sponsored by the Hub on Canal, the City of New Smyrna Beach and the Canal Street Historic District. It will be in conjunction with the 57th annual Art Fiesta weekend, which will be in nearby Old Fort Park.
Artists of all ages will create entries in Chalk It Up! on a four- by four-foot space on the sidewalks up and down Canal Street, and Art Fiesta attendees can delight in strolling along the business district to view the chalk creations.
Registration for Chalk It Up! is free. Participants may register at the event from 8 to 9 a.m. at the Hub as space allows, or pre-register at the Hub on Canal in person or by mail. For more information, visit thehuboncanal.org.
There will be a free chalk pack for the first 50 registrations. School teams will all receive a free chalk pack. Judging will take place at 4 p.m. with an awards ceremony at 5 p.m. in front of the Hub.
Chalk It Up! has been expanded to include more levels of competition, categories for judging and monetary prizes for all categories except business, according to Vicki White, director of grants and outreach.
Levels of competition include adult professional, adult amateur, family group, high school, middle school, elementary school and business. This year there is a separate category for local businesses to enter the competition. Businesses will compete for the honor of Best of Show traveling trophy award, an award which will then go on to next year’s business winner.
Many businesses are sponsors of the event, Dr. White said, and the business category this year encourages all businesses to have art on the sidewalk outside their business.
Cheryl Rich, board of directors member and event co-sponsor with Dr. White, agreed, saying “While people are out at the Art Fiesta, they can not only view the chalk art, but visit the businesses as well.”
This year’s event will feature a special category for a grand master sponsor, the Utilities Commission of New Smyrna Beach. This new conservation category, intended to bring awareness to the need to protect the environment, requires designs that represent energy or water conservation themes.
Prize for the conservation winner is a basket valued at $250, according to Dr. White. The Utilities Commission is also donating baskets for elementary, middle and high school winners to take back to their art teachers.
“We like to acknowledge teachers that encourage students to participate in art-related activities such as Chalk It Up!,” Ms. Rich said.
“Activities such as Chalk It Up! tie directly into the Hub’s outreach programs and mission statement”, Dr. White said, which is “art creating community.”
Each year, Dr. White and Ms. Rich said, they hope to “grow the Chalk It Up! event little by little.”
Also at the Art Fiesta, there will be a children’s activity tent and music. One of the new additions is a PleinAir Hub artist (an artist who paints outdoors) painting the chalk artists at work, “An artist painting the artists,” the event chairs said.
“We are also providing a break room for the artists, to keep the energy going,” said Leslie Holland, marketing director for the Hub.
Sheri Zanosky, a wildlife artist, earned the top award with her beautiful abstract chalk art last year.
“It’s a great idea for professional and non-professional artists to come together,” Ms. Zanosky said. “Everyone has the same medium. It brings the community together.”
She added, “I like to get down, use my imagination, and bring the sidewalk to life.”