Wonder Returns to The International Chalk Festival

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PIctured: Artist Remko VanSchaik, 2017 Chalk Festival.

The International Chalk Festival is returning to Sarasota this Friday, April 1st, after a two year hiatus. The festival, which began in 2007 and features the most 3D pavement paintings ever created in one location, will be on display at the Venice Airport Fairgrounds from April 1st-3rd.

In addition to the festival’s signature stable of 2D and 3D chalk art - pavement art that appears to rise above or sink down into the concrete canvas - it will also feature immersive illusion rooms - displays that spectators can walk into and be surrounded by these 3D illusions on the floor and the walls around them. While many of these illusion rooms will be ready to view on Friday, the 3D and other pavement work will not be completed until Sunday.

“Spectators get to experience the act of creation. It’s not very often that you can see an artist start with a blank canvas and watch their whole process from beginning to end. That’s unique - normally you don’t have any context to the struggles artists go through to create their work,” says Denise Kowal, founder of the International Chalk Festival.

This gathering of international artists is a welcome return for the Sarasota art community, as the festival serves as both a public display of performance art and a learning experience for burdenoining artists. “Our event does a lot of group projects - we host people like Kurt Wenner, who invented the 3D art form, we have him create group projects and work together to train and teach all the projects,” attests Kowal.

The effort that it takes to assemble the festival and bring together internationally renowned artists from all over the world is resemblant of the theme of this year’s festival, resilience. “In light of the global pandemic and the war in Ukraine, it’s been a very challenging task to do an international festival. Everything from out of date visas and passports to increased housing costs for our artists have presented obstacles, but the product and relationships that emerge from the event are so worth it,” says Kowal.

Venice Airport Festival Grounds, 610 Airport Avenue East, Venice. 941-488-8877

PIctured: Artist Remko VanSchaik, 2017 Chalk Festival.

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