The eastern Iowa town of Mount Vernon is holding what it calls a “Chalk the Walk Festival” over two days next month where hundreds of artists will use chalk to create detailed works of art, literally, on the street.
Joe Jennison, spokesman for the Mount Vernon-Lisbon Community Development Group, says it will be Iowa’s largest-ever street art or Madonnari festival.
“We’ll have about 500 artists total that’ll be on the streets of Mount Vernon,” Jennison says. “We block off three city blocks and we have dozens and dozens and dozens of 8-foot by 10-foot pieces that are created by artists from all over the Midwest who come in and do this.”
Many of the artists will re-create famous works of art in chalk while others will make original works on the concrete. Jennison says a select few artists will focus on very detailed art that appears three-dimensional. He says one lady who will be in Mount Vernon is exceptionally gifted at that.
“Last year or the year before, she did a pond and when you look at it, you don’t necessarily see the 3-D image but when you take it through the camera, there’s all these pictures of people fishing in her little pond,” Jennison says. “It does look very 3-D. The pole is part of the art so she shows you how to make it look like you’re holding the pole.”
In addition to the individual works of chalk art, there’s also one large collaborative work that measures 20-by-40 feet where everyone takes a small square and colors it in.
The first year of the festival, the subject of that giant work was Iowa native Grant Wood’s piece called “Stone City.”
“I am on my hands and knees doing a two-foot by two-foot square,” Jennison says. “On my left, are little five-year-old and seven-year-old girls, and on my right are a 70-year-old Indian couple and all of us, on our hands and knees, are creating art together.”
Mount Vernon’s 9th annual Chalk the Walk fest is scheduled for May 3rd and 4th. This year’s event will be a juried art festival and will include awards for 22 artists and more than $1,200 in cash prizes.
For more information, visit: https://www.facebook.com/chalkthewalk