A masterpiece created by chalk on display on pavement. COURTESY PHOTO/ Laurie Smith

A masterpiece created by chalk on display on pavement. COURTESY PHOTO/ Laurie Smith

KENNEBUNKPORT — Imagine a whole world created at your feet, only with a stroke of chalk.

The Town of Kennebunkport will host its first chalking festival the weekend of Aug. 19 and 20 in Dock Square. The event is family-friendly and free of charge.

Based off the tradition of European 16th Century street painting, the festival will transform the pavement of Cross Street into a colorful, pastel canvas.  

This event will feature national and local artists who create masterpieces solely using chalk. The theme of this year’s event is ‘Life in Kennebunkport’.

Chalk artists proudly present their dirty hands as they stand upon a piece of their work. COURTESY PHOTO/ Laurie Smith

Chalk artists proudly present their dirty hands as they stand upon a piece of their work. COURTESY PHOTO/ Laurie Smith

The festival begins on Saturday morning, Aug. 19 at 9 a.m., where artists will begin chalking their designs on the pavement. Featured artists will continue their pieces into the night and continue Sunday morning at 9 a.m., ending around 4 p.m. 

Visitors of the festival will be able to see artworks unfold as the road becomes the canvas of the chalk designs. Some pieces will be 3-D, allowing the public to interact with the artwork. 

Along with watching the artist’s work, there will be a children’s chalking area from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on both days of the event. The art will be on Cross Street for all to see past the weekend festival.

Laurie Smith, Kennebunkport town manager, says the town wanted to bring this festival to Kennebunkport after a selectman attended a similar event in Florida.

“This festival is another opportunity for people to enjoy themselves during the summer in Kennebunkport,” said Smith. “We want to showcase local artists within the community along with those nationally recognized.”

The Town of Kennebunkport hopes to make this an annual event to look forward to in the summer.

National artists known for their previous work in festivals will be present, including lead artist and president of the Florida Chalk Artist Association, Janet Tombros, who has been chalking for 15 years and began herself by stumbling upon another festival.

Tombros says festivals like these are important to inspire others, especially younger generations.

“I look forward to the festivals because it encourages local participation in addition to bringing interest to the youth,” said Tombros. “I hope to educate younger students so they can continue to chalk on the streets. It is such a magnificent medium that allows museum quality.”

These festivals are unique, allowing viewers to see the production of the artwork, along with the finished product. Not all participating artists are professional, but take on chalking as their passion.

Other featured artists include Lisa Long Gaither of Raleigh, North Carolina, Jacob Brooks of Nashville, Tennessee, Henry Darnell of Dallas, Texas and Soniya Hardy of Raleigh, North Carolina

Tombros says festivals like these are exciting because it allows artists to connect with locals and engage with an audience. For Tombros, the people help bring more energy into her pieces.

If local artists wish to participate, there are still available spots. Registration deadline is Aug. 1. Artists are asked to bring their talent and enthusiasm to the event. A meal will be provided for local artists.

The works produced are temporary and created solely by pastel chalks. Chalk will be provided but it is also welcomed to provide your own if needed. For those who are new to the pastel medium or to chalking on an asphalt surface, there will be a demonstration and workshop held Friday, Aug. 18 from 5 p.m. to 6 p.m. at the festival location on Cross Street.

Event sponsors will have their logos in chalk showcased at the event. There is limited sponsor opportunity available. Those interested in sponsorship or artists who wish to register can contact Carol Cook at 967-4304 or via email at [email protected]

For more information regarding the festival, visit kennebunkportme.gov/discover-kport/pages/events-and-festivals.

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