Anna Maria hosts chalk art festival

Sidewalk art, live music highlight the island's first chalk festival

January 16, 2014 

Pine Avenue on Anna Maria Island will be the canvas for colorful artworks this weekend. METROMIX STOCK ART

The streets of Anna Maria Island will be paved with beautiful but transitory works of art this weekend.

Artists from around the country will come to the area for the Anna Maria Chalk Festival, where, as the event advertising says, artists "use chalk as their medium and the road surface as their canvas."

It's the first time Anna Maria has hosted this kind of thing, and organizers -- who include the Pine Avenue Restoration Group, the Tourist and Development Council, the Historic Green Village and members of the Anna Maria Island's artistic and cultural community --- are hoping it will become an annual event.

Most people in the Bradenton-Sarasota area are familiar with the art form, thanks to the week-long Sarasota Chalk festival, now in it seventh year. Sandra Kowal, the founder of that festival, is helping to organize the Anna Maria event.

Besides some of the best chalk artists in the country, the festival features live music from Kristopher Byerly, Scott Blum, Trevor Bystrem, William Hellem-Brusso, Howie Banfield, Debbie Hood, Elephant in the Room, Savannah Brady, Can't Turn Left and Bill Vinhage.

Local artists are encouraged to participate, and there's a free clinic that will help hone your sidewalk art skills from 3 to 5 p.m. Friday on Pine Avenue.

The festival will have a special area for middle school and high school age artists and children's area where young kids can create.

Details: Jan. 18-19, Pine Avenue, Anna Maria island. Tickets: Free. Information: www.amichalkfest.

-- Marty Clear

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