A different kind of street art

Inaugural Victoria international Chalk Art Festival displays a different kind of street art

Chalk artist Michael Las Casas (West Palm Beach, Fla.) is making his way to Victoria for the chalk art festival.

Chalk artist Michael Las Casas (West Palm Beach, Fla.) is making his way to Victoria for the chalk art festival.

When most people hear chalk art, they immediately picture the stick-figure portrait that the neighbour kids drew on their driveway. And while that may be “art,” it won’t prepare you for what’s in store at the inaugural Victoria International Chalk Art Festival, hitting downtown Sept. 12-16.

The festival kicks off with renowned street painter Tracy Lee Stum beginning her 20-by-20-foot 3D chalk art drawing at the Bay Centre (lower level, centre court). Stum will take the full five days of the festival to create her interactive masterpiece, which will remain on display at the Bay Centre until Sept. 30.

“She truly is the top of the top,” says festival executive director John Vickers. “To have her here is a real treat for the community.”

Festival organizers are building a special canvas-covered floor for Stum to work on.

The festival spills outdoors onto Government Street on the weekend, where other internationally known street artists will be live-painting.

“As a resident of Government Street, I’ve always felt this is a beautiful city, but that it’s lacking in family-friendly free events to draw people downtown,” says Vickers.

To remedy that need, Vickers is hoping to establish three annual downtown festivals. The first was the Victoria International Buskers Festival, which just finished its second successful year. The second is the chalk festival, and the third is the Victoria International Kite Festival, which Vickers is hoping to host at Clover Point in the coming years.

While researching for the chalk art festival, Vickers was introduced to Denise Kowal, the organizer of the largest chalk art festival in North America (in Sarasota, Fla.) and invited Kowal to be artistic director of the Victoria festival. Through her contacts, the festival was able to secure six of the world’s best street artists, including Stum, street portrait painter Jeanie Burns (West Palm Beach, Fla.), colourful chameleon Cathy Gallatin (Medford, Ore.), mural maestro Lori Escalera (California), renaissance recreator Gabrielle Abbot (Seattle, Wash.), Michael Las Casas (West Palm Beach, Fla.) and Victoria’s own Ian Morris, who can often be found painting portraits on Government Street.

On Saturday and Sunday, Government Street will host the “Artist Zone,” where the other six guest artists will be creating their masterpieces.

“Escalera is planning to do a portrait of a young Queen Victoria in honour of the city’s 150th anniversary,” says Vickers.

Each artist will be given a 10-by-12-foot zone to work in, and part of the street will be blocked off for the public to try their hand.

“We’ve ordered tons of chalk,” says Vickers. “It’s free fun for everybody.”

Government Street (between Yates and Fort) will remain closed to vehicle traffic from 6am Saturday to 6pm Sunday as most artists will need two full days to complete their work.

Local artists, with or without chalk experience, are invited to work alongside these international artists over the weekend. Escalera is also running a free tutorial on Thurs., Sept. 13 for those interested in participating. To get involved, visit victoriachalkfestival.com,  fill out the artist application form and email or drop it off at the festival headquarters in the Bay Centre. M

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Orca 1
Orcas: Our Shared Future

Royal BC Museum dives into the world of orcas with upcoming feature exhibition

Frank Ludwig in a forklift with his long hair during Trooper’s heyday. (Photo submitted)
Humble Island beginnings blossomed into storied career for Trooper keyboardist

Frank Ludwig got his start as a boy pumping the organ in a tiny downtown Chemainus church

Joan Miller with the Vancouver Island North Regional Film Commission says there’s much room for optimism in the region rebounding from COVID-19 and is excited about what the future holds for the region. Black Press File Photo
North Island film industry optimistic about post-COVID rebound

Interest in filming here is still high, according to film commission, once things open back up

The 10-part Netflix series Maid, which is being exclusively shot in Greater Victoria, has been filming in Langford and Colwood over the past two weeks. On April 7, filming will take place on the east side of the Esquimalt Lagoon. (Black Press Media file)
Netflix series ‘Maid’ filming in Colwood

10-episode Warner Bros. production filmed exclusively in Greater Victoria

Victoria mural artists Joshua Lundrigan (from left) and Paul Archer join Rob Chyzowski, co-owner of Belleville’s Watering Hole and Diner in front of an Archer-designed mural that went up on Thursday at the Inner Harbour restaurant. (Don Descoteau/News Staff)
Positivity rules with new outdoor mural from Victoria artist

Paul Archer teams with Belleville’s Watering Hole and Diner for patio project

Thomas Kuecks, Bellamy Kuecks and Paula Foot have come together to create an album of stories for children. (Nina Foot photo)
Moments with Miss Paula creates musical stories for kids

Music and the spoken word from Island pair available on streaming

Author Eden Robinson poses for a portrait during an interview in Toronto, Wednesday, May 29, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Tijana Martin
Trickster trilogy author Eden Robinson hosts online conversation and reading

Haisla and Heiltsuk will join fans in event hosted by Vancouver Island Regional Library

Nanaimo author Lawrence Winkler’s latest book is ‘The Last Casebook of Doctor Sababa.’ (Bulletin file photo/supplied)
Nanaimo author wraps up trilogy following ‘antihero’ Island doctor

Lawrence Winkler presents ‘The Last Casebook of Doctor Sababa’

‘Frank Ney’ by Patrick Flavin, ‘Millstone River Upper Falls’ by John Collison Baker, ‘Labyrinth of Dreams’ by MA Molcan, ‘On the Other Side’ by Liana Ravensbergen, ‘December Snow’ by Laurel Karjala and ‘Jacks Point’ by Dana Smiley (cropped, clockwise from top-left) are among the works in the Nanaimo Arts Council’s latest exhibition. (Photos courtesy Nanaimo Arts Council)
Nanaimo Arts Council presents its first online gallery show

Submissions now open for upcoming ‘Ekphrastic Celebration’ show

Dorothy Sevcov’s exhibition ‘Having Fun With Acrylics’ is on display at Art 10 Gallery until the end of the month. (Josef Jacobson/The News Bulletin)
Experimental paintings now on exhibit at Nanaimo’s Art 10 Gallery

Dorothy Sevcov’s ‘Having Fun With Acrylics’ on display through April

Courtenay artist Christine Boyer presents Alongside My Path: Native Wildflowers of Canada at Gallery Merrick from April 9 to 23. (Photo courtesy Christine Boyer)
Island painter shows off the wildflowers of Western Canada in first solo show

Courtenay’s Christine Boyer presents floral exhibit at Nanaimo’s Gallery Merrick

Nanaimo Harbourfront Library librarian April Ripley led the effort to create a Vancouver Island poetry booklet in recognition of National Poetry Month. (Josef Jacobson/The News Bulletin)
Nanaimo Harbourfront Library publishes booklet for National Poetry Month

Collection features winners of ‘Poem in your Pocket’ contest

SENCOTEN language revitalizationist and filmmaker Renee Sampson’s short film, Bringing Our Language Back to LIfe, shows online during the Reel 2 Real International Youth Film Festival, April 14-23. (Photo courtesy Wapikoni)
SENCOTEN language featured in short film created on Saanich Peninsula

Renee Sampson film highlights importance of passing on traditional languages to youth

Most Read