Kayla Johnson/The Paisano
Oct. 12 marked eleven consecutive years for Artpace’s Chalk It Up, an event that turns the Historic East Houston street into a beautiful, temporary collage of chalk murals. Chalk It Up is Artpace’s biggest community event of the year and promotes creativity, art education and the freedom to dream.
This free, family-friendly event hosts a variety of activities, musicians and food vendors. It was easy to enjoy a full day with Chalk It Up, which lasted from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
This year’s Chalk It Up was almost overshadowed by the sudden downpour of rain that morning.
At the beginning of the event, the flood-like weather conditions threatened Chalk It Up’s ability to continue. The event’s Facebook page showed people were hesitant to attend.
Luckily, Chalk It Up continued, rain or shine. By noon, Houston Street was no longer flooded with rain but with hordes of people, over 20,000 in total. This mob of attendees consisted of adults, kids, pets and Chalk It Up’s 300 volunteers, and they all were there to enjoy fantastic works of public art.
People of all ages were able to create chalk drawings in the event’s “freestyle” zone with free chalk provided by Chalk It Up, in partnership with the San Antonio Museum of Art. There were also make-your-own printed bandana tables, a Haiku station, temporary tattoo booths and many other activities.
The Guerrilla Haiku booth was ambitious with their goal of gathering five hundred or more haikus created by attendees during the day. They wanted to show the importance of blending visual and literary art while showcasing San Antonio’s talent.
Spaces were reserved for displaying the works of Artpace’s 20 local artists, three of whom are currently hosted in Artpace’s gallery. They were chosen by guest-coordinator and Contemporary Art Month co-chairman, Nina Hassele.
These artists showcased their talents on four-foot by six-foot spaces during Chalk it Up. Some created stunning artworks that represented San Antonio’s colorful, Hispanic influence as well as current social and political ideals, while others were more abstract and performance based.
While the professional artists were impressive, many “teamworks” – murals created by companies, schools and other organizations – made many stop and stare in wonder.
UTSA had its own mural space created by three art majors in the graduate art program: Justin Koraver, Allysa Dana and Sarah Fox. Their “teamwork” project incorporated a mural, designed by Justin and Sarah, and costumes by Allysa. They encouraged other attendees to interact with the images and pose for photos.
Other schools, such as Southwest School of Art, used murals to send a message about the changing art community in San Antonio. They did this with the slogan, “One line can start a revolution,” and their fantastic mural that referenced constructivism and revolutionary posters from the Cold War era.
This event deserved the crowd it drew, and after the day was done, the images left over from a day of free, artistic fun still decorated San Antonio’s Houston Street.