Chalk It Up!

Children giggled as they ran down the street with colorful, pastel chalk in hand, coloring every surface of the city with their art. Surprisingly, it was not shunned but actually encouraged.

 Chalk It Up is an annual event in San Antonio that immortalizes the artwork of the community through the medium of chalk on historic Houston Street.

Artpace, a local advocate for contemporary art, hosted the event this past Saturday (Oct. 13) with a big turnout. The family event brought the community together to promote local art in San Antonio as well as supporting art education in the city.

The art community flooded the entire block of Houston Street with vibrant murals and portraits. Between the unique chalk creations and bustling onlookers there was literally nowhere to walk without stepping on someone’s masterpiece.

The event featured artwork from many organizations, activities for children, some of San Antonio’s favorite eats and live music. A giant machine, inspired by the childhood toy called a spirograph, was placed in the center of Houston Street for kids to create artwork with spheres as well.

One interesting piece of work featured cats floating in orbit that was created by the Providence Catholic School National Art Society. Their art teacher says, “Time and space was our theme; we were thinking about how art is now and thinking about the future, space exploration and how time is a big component in the now factor.”

Chalk It Up had some UTSA students and faculty participating in the event as well. Chi Alpha, a Christian organization on campus, created a piece called “Walk By Faith and Not By Sight.”

Toni Ragusa, a member of the group, says, “It was natural for us to do something that had to deal with faith. Hopefully it’ll draw people’s attention and make them think of how we walk in life.”

Sarah Frantz and Katie Pell, two art professors at UTSA, also took part in the event. Pell’s work featured a piece that was inspired by 70s string-art. She says, “I wanted to do something graphic and colorful and have people help color it in.”

Frantz created a mural based on a design that she did before on graphite. “This is my first year at Chalk It Up. I’m very excited,” Frantz says. She says that she used encouragement from her students to participate in the event this year.

 “It was great talking to some of my graduate students who have done it and some undergrads are giving me pointers.” Frantz continues, “It’s a such a great event that brings the community together in a very family-friendly way, but at the same time, points out some of the great local talent that we have.”