Annual New Times street painting festival seeks artists to draw their best, in chalk
By Samantha House
For about a year, the sidewalks bordering the 100 and 200 blocks of Montgomery Street have worn pale, frozen faces. Sure, the concrete footpath has been covered in snow, pedestrian feet and fall’s confetti leaves. But for 12 months, the stretch of sidewalk has held anything but art. However, this Saturday, July 30, talented Syracuse folk will render the street a masterpiece.
Starting with registration at 8 a.m. on July 30, the Syracuse New Times Street Painting Festival’s sidewalk art contest will begin. For eight hours, contestants of all ages will take chalk to the sidewalk across from City Hall in an attempt to flex their artistic muscles, vie for prizes and, above all, help make an ordinary piece of pavement beautiful.
As part of Syracuse’s ArtsWeek celebration, the Street Painting Festival encourages beginning, amateur and professional artists to let their creative side loose. And with the many familiar competition categories—best original work, best copy of a master, best teen work and best youth work—along with a new category—titled the French Masters’ competition, challenging artists to replicate a French artist’s creation in chalk—participants will have plenty of opportunities to create, win and have fun.
New Times advertising representative Gina Fortino, who has been organizing the event, says the competition is open to the first 125 partici pants to sign up. The cost of early registration is $10 for youths, $20 for adults and $25 for the French Masters’ competition. To register early, before the day of the event, participants can call 422-7011 or visit syracusenewtimes.com. Although artists can register on the day of the contest, it costs an additional $5.
According to Fortino, all artists need to bring is their creativity, and their favorite chalk, even though The New Times will provide chalk as well. Bring hairspray to help preserve your handiwork, along with water to stay hydrated; concrete can get mighty hot this time of year.
But whether or not Central New Yorkers wish to participate in the sidewalk chalk contest, cheer on loved ones or simply admire the soon-to-be-beautiful sidewalks, Fortino said there’s an opportunity for everyone to get involved. “Even if you are a non-artist, to watch these amazing local artists work is a truly incredible thing,” she says.
In other words, the Syracuse New Times Street Painting Festival is a work of art you don’t want to miss. “This is the most fun and creative event in Syracuse,” Fortino adds. “It’s quite a sight seeing a blank sidewalk become filled with vibrant color and gorgeous pieces over the course of one day. I’m always amazed to see just what kind of talent we have here in Syracuse.”
In case of inclement weather (but it wouldn’t dare rain), the contest will be rescheduled for Sunday, July 31.