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Home / Neighborhood / San Gabriel Valley / Pasadena Independent / 23rd Annual Pasadena Chalk Festival Returns to Paseo Colorado Father’s Day Weekend

23rd Annual Pasadena Chalk Festival Returns to Paseo Colorado Father’s Day Weekend

by Pasadena Independent
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Detail of mural by Karlos Aguilar. – Photo by Robert Jensen


Over 600 dedicated and talented chalk artists from Southern California and beyond will come together at Paseo Colorado to showcase this unique art form. The festival offers visitors an opportunity to witness the amazing chalk murals created by the artists come to life before their very eyes during the two-day festival which is free and open to the public June 20-21, 10 a.m. to 7 p.m..

Celebrating its 23rd year, the Pasadena Chalk Festival places over 25,000 sticks of pastel chalks in the hands of hundreds of Madonnari (Italian for street painter) who spend the weekend creating spectacular murals on concrete areas throughout the center that stretches over three city blocks, including across Green St. to the historic Pasadena Civic Auditorium. In every style imaginable, from classical to contemporary, whimsical and fantastic, to socially relevant, the murals are designed and created by independent artists as well as teams representing schools, creative companies, cultural organizations, and artistic families. The artists are an incredibly diverse group, representing many ethnicities, speaking numerous languages and spanning all ages.

Prestigious cultural festivals in Europe, North America and South America celebrate this traditional art form and are popular attractions for artists, art lovers and people from all walks of life. Street painting started in the 16th century in Italy, where they are called “madonnari” after the practice of creating chalk paintings of the Madonna. Often, soldiers returning home from battle would give homage to the Madonna by painting at the steps of village churches and cathedrals. Many variations of ‘dry painting’ and painting with sand on the ground or similar art forms go back to Navajo, Latin American and Tibetan traditions just to name a few.

In addition to the extraordinary opportunity to watch artists at work, guests can enjoy live music throughout the weekend and children can get creative and have their faces painted in Chalkland. There will also be a Pasadena Police Classic Car Show on Sunday from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. featuring classic and fun cars as well as the Pasadena Police Helicopter.

One of the highlights of the Pasadena Chalk Festival is Animation Alley, an area spotlighting some of the top and upcoming animators and graphic designers from Southern California. This feature has proven to be a success as gifted artists shaped masterful chalk renderings of their own signature work, classic characters, renowned personalities from film and television.

On the Upper Theatre Court, Chalk of Fame –by ArcLight Pasadena–is designated for artists who will create chalk murals depicting well known movies, movie stars, epic scenes and movie posters. A special prize provided by the movie theater will be awarded to the winning mural in this category.

Always a highlight of the Pasadena Chalk Festival is the Artist Gallery where people can bid on affordable, small painted canvases created by the participating artists and a variety of Festival merchandise that will be available for purchase with proceeds benefiting the Light Bringer Project. Blick Art Materials will be providing new unpainted 12″ x 12″ canvases the artists use to create their art donation for the silent auction. They also will be providing pastel chalks for the artists.

Likewise, The City of Pasadena Cultural Affairs Division is a major sponsor of the Chalk Festival. They generously provided a grant to assist with the production of one of the city’s most prominent public events.

At the conclusion of the festival, participating artists will select the outstanding murals of the festival from amongst their peers. Awards include 1st, 2nd and 3rd Place Best of Show, Best Technique, Best Use of Color, Best Artist Original Design and more. Festival visitors will also have the opportunity to vote for their favorite mural, the “Paseo Colorado People’s Choice” award. Ballots will be available on Sunday of the event at the information booth.

The Pasadena Chalk Festival benefits the community arts programs of the Light Bringer Project, a nonprofit arts organization founded in 1990. In alignment with its mission to build communities through the power of the arts and education, the organization places an emphasis on youth development, providing innovative arts programs that unite schools, industry and community resources throughout Los Angeles County. For more information on Light Bringer Project programs and partnerships, visit www.lightbringerproject.com.

Paseo Colorado is located at 280 East Colorado Boulevard (between Marengo and Los Robles Avenues) in the heart of Pasadena’s historic downtown Civic Center. Plenty of convenient parking is available. For festival information call (626) 795-8891 or visit www.pasadenachalkfestival.com.

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