1. How do artists get approved to participate in the festival?
All artists are approved to participate irregardless of skill level and must fill out and sign an adult artist application and adult artist waiver form. Artists requesting stipend for travel and lodging go thru an screening process for approval.
Students are approved to participate irregardless of skill level and must fill out and sign a student application and student waiver form.
Families with children and younger students (5th grade and younger) have an entire section of the festival dedicated to them to chalk their own mini-masterpiece anytime between Saturday, November 14th and Sunday, November 15th. Chalk and other amenities are provided.
Senior Citizens can participate in the Seniors Going Vertical where they can chalk, spray paint, paint with brushes and stencil, 11/14 Friday till 11/15 Sunday between 10 and 5 pm.
2. What does free for anyone to attend or participate mean?
It means that there is no ticket or admission requirements to attend and view the artwork from the ground level. It means there is no cost for artists to participate – this includes students, senior citizens and families.
We do however rely on the honor system for donations so that we can keep it free. If you can afford to donate, we ask you to do so generously because it is the only way we can keep it free for artists and those less fortunate.
3. Is there a cost for anything?
Yes. There are some added amenities and events that do cost money.
It costs $10 to park a car but the buses to and from downtown are free. We have beverages, food and merchandise for sale. Some featured events have a ticket cost and you can read about those HERE. Featured events include evening parties, special music events, elevating visitors from ground level or featured artwork.
4. What costs $2,000,000 to produce the Festival?
Some people ask us how the Festival that uses chalk and pavement could cost so much to produce. Well, there is a lot more than just chalk and pavement involved.
The Festival has basic costs such as rental of the airport, closure of roads, event insurance, music concert stage, tents, golf carts, trash, recycling, equipment rental, scaffolding, surveying, a massive amount of art supplies, building equipment, food storage and printing. We provide hundreds of profession and world renowned artists stipend for travel, lodging, food, supplies, events tickets, insurance, promotion, transportation and equipment rentals. We have to pay for buses, security, police, fire and safety services, barricades, restrooms and amenities for visitors. We pay rent on our offices and warehouses that includes electric, water and phones all year. There are hundreds of costs that go into creating this international Festival. As a 501c3 nonprofit we are reviewed and audited yearly.
We are very fortunate that a portion of our budget donated to us as in-kind support from our volunteers, artists, and local and national partners and businesses. But for those things we have to pay for, we request visitors to generously donation if they can afford to do so.
5. How can I get involved with the festival?
We are a volunteer local community festival that brings together, once a year, a global community of artists. We need help and encourage people to get involved either as an artist performing in the festival, volunteering, sponsoring in-kind or financially or attending as a visitor. Please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or call us at (941) 954-5800 and let us know in what capacity you have interest.
6. How can I meet the artists?
There are two social events that all the artists attend, the Opening Gala November 12th and the Closing Ceremonies November 15th. These are the best events to attend to have time, in a relaxed setting, to socialize and speak with the festival artists.
7. How long does the artworks last, and can they be preserved?
Traditional pavement art is an ephemeral art form, and is not meant to last. It’s beauty is in its creation, so we do not try to preserve the artworks. The permanence of a piece depends more on the materials used, quality of chalk, expertise of the artist, as well as the environment, weather, and traffic. Some artists, generally artists creating large paintings that take days to create, use more permanent mediums such as paint. The Guinness World Record of the Megalodon Shark and Squid was created over ten days using household latex paint from Sherwin Williams and Pro Paint.
8. What happens if it rains?
We wait until it stops. We make every attempt to protect artwork by covering it with plastic, but this is not fail proof. Water damages and stains the artworks so artists fix any part that’s been damaged. Adapting to changeable weather is part of the process of this ephemeral art form. Artists just learn to deal with it and the performance goes on when the rain stops!
9. Can artists make a living from street painting?
This art form grows every year and many artists primary source of income is street painting. In fact, many of the artists who travel to this festival make their living as street painters, earning between $2500 and $25,000 for 3 day’s work. Some of our artists earn upward of $100,000 for a single installation! And there remains street painters that do it the traditional way by placing a hat or collection jar next to their piece and working for tips.
10. What kind of chalks do the festival use?
The festival provides chalk for the artists, and depending on the artwork, we provide different kinds of pastel chalk. Good pastels are very costly. For example, you can purchase a set of 48 chalk pastels for anything from $5-$500+. It all depends on the quality you require. Many artists manufacture their own chalk to suit their individual needs, and sometimes sell and trade pastels with other artists. Handmade, high quality chalks are stronger, more permanent, more vibrant, and less dusty than lower quality, mass manufactured ones. Some of the installations at the Sarasota Chalk Festival cost upwards of $1000 in materials alone.
11. How long does the festival take to plan?
The festival takes a whole year to plan! We begin to plan the next festival the minute we’ve said goodbye to all the artists from the last one. It takes a lot of work as we need to secure all of our funding, plan all our events, organize flights and accommodation for the artists, etc. etc. Thankfully we are blessed to have many wonderful and talented volunteers who help us out throughout the year. The festival could not happen without them.
12. I’m not an artist, how can I get involved?
There are plenty of ways to get involved in the festival. The easiest way of course if to attend, enjoy the artworks and interact with the artists. You can also donate to help keep the festival going, become a sponsor, or volunteer your time to come down and get your hands dirty with us! To learn more about these way of participating, visit the Join Us section of the site.
13. How long do the artworks take to create?
That depends on the size of the artwork and the number of people working on it, as well as the quality of the surface and complexity of the design. The festival gives artists 3 full days to complete roughly a 12’ x 12’ painting. The larger 3D paintings can take upwards of 6 days. The Guinness World Record will take 2 weeks to complete with hundred of volunteers and over 25 artists working full time. Students usually work in teams and will complete their work in one day, sometimes two. Children usually complete a 2′ x 2′ pieces in under 60 minutes.
14. I see artists walking on their artworks when they are creating them. Does this damage the artworks?
Yes, care must be taken when walking on or around the artwork. The public walk is not allowed to walk on the artwork during the festival. To complete the artwork, it is sometimes necessary for an artists to walk on their work but they use caution at all times
15. Do any pavement artists live in the area?
We encourage local artists to enter the field of pavement art. We encourage children and students as well as professional artists so that one day our community will have local pavement artists working to make Sarasota an even more beautiful and creative place. As a result of our efforts there are a number of local artist who can boast pavement art as one of their skills.
16. What other initiatives does the nonprofit support or produce?
The Sarasota Chalk Festival is produced by the volunteer organization Avenida de Colores 501c3 cultural arts organization that also produces the Going Vertical program and the Floralia Infiorata. The organization also provides lectures and outreach programs to schools, libraries, churches and other interested parties. The Founder, Denise Kowal, works with many other organizations and cities helping them produce their own festivals.
17. How do I contact the Chalk Festival?
Email – email@example.com
Venice Office – 200 Base Avenue East, Venice, FL 34285 (941) 488-8877
Sarasota Office – 540 South Orange Avenue, Sarasota, FL 34236 (941) 954-5800