Downtown streets flood with colorful works of art to support art education.
By Miranda A. Holden
Four members of the Art Guild and a visual arts adjunct joined thousands for the 13th annual Chalk It Up event sponsored by Artpace on downtown Houston Street between Flores and Presa streets Saturday.
The free art festival turned five city blocks into a colorful chalk mural showcasing local emerging artists and raising funds for art education.
Between 10 a.m.-4 p.m. college and high school art students squatted down and got messy with chalk expressing their creativity using varieties of colors.
People of all ages joined the fun while expressing their artistic personalities in full color by designing realistic images of wildlife, abstract designs, inspirational quotes and kid-friendly games such as tic-tac-toe and hopscotch.
The pet-friendly festival featured food vendors, music by disc jockey’s and an interactive sculpture called “Chalka Kahn” where people donated $1 to have chalk spiraled into a colorful design.
Argo Group sponsors Chalk It Up, along with additional supporters such as Valero Energy Foundation and Centro San Antonio.
Funds raised through sponsorships will help benefit Artpaces’s free educational program for 8,000 students without art programs at their schools.
Nina Hassele, curator and co-chair of Contemporary Art Month, selected San Antonio College Art Guild students to be among the 20 emerging artists at the festival for the first time.
Dante Dispasquale, Art Guild exhibit coordinator, created a colorful floral pattern with hands emerging together expressing the human touch with nature.
Dispasquale said he was honored to be considered as an emerging artist by Hassele and grateful to be part of such a humbling experience.
The guild arrived around 7:30 a.m. to check in and find their designated space along the sidewalk where Herwick’s provided complimentary boxes of Reeves soft pastels.
Art Guild President Justin Mendez chose to draw a sketch of a tree from his previous artwork and bring the sketch to life.
Mendez used a combination of blues and violets with a vibrant yellow as the main color to catch people’s attention.
The event is a great way show artwork to the community as emerging young artist, he said Saturday.
“People can paint all day long at home,” he said, “if you don’t show people your work no one will know your passion for art.”
While students used their imagination drawing nature, fine arts sophomore Anaia Alejandro drew art that was kid friendly — A three-eyed cartoon character named Garnet.
Alejandro used fluorescent shades of pink, which captured the attention of children as they walked by.
She learned to come prepared with supplies as she noticed other artists bring paintbrushes and spray bottles to use on their canvas.
She said she was excited to be part of a public event that featured her work.
Fernando Lopez, Art Guild vice president, chose to illustrate his favorite bird species the Great Tit because of its cunning look and interesting background.
Between the two-featured artists was Fleisher, 3-D art design adjunct at this college.
Her work is spatial, which consists of patterns such as on wallpaper and bathroom tile.
Being that the event was above the River Walk she chose to recreate the historic talavera tiles from the La Vilita and steps nearby while using a stencil pattern.
Artpace team members helped by offering extra stencils to children walking by who wanted to take part in the fun and color.
Being a part of this year’s event for the first time wasn’t out of her realm. Fleisher has several community art workshops with children and her work is featured in a window works exhibit inside Artpace until the end of the year.
For more information on the exhibit, go to www.artpace.com/exhibitions/window_works/ww_fall_2016