BRADENTON -- It seemed everyone had their favorite ArtSlam team Saturday.
“You’ve got to go see the kids drawing in chalk,” said ArtSlam board member Michele Redwine, referring to “Little Chalkers,” the brainchild of Denise Kowal, producer of the Sarasota Chalk Festival.
Little Chalkers was one of 15 teams that strutted its stuff from 3 to 11 p.m. on Old Main Street in downtown Bradenton, a volcanic blast of art that drew about 500 fans and more than 100 artists.
Due to the late hour of the judging, the winning teams were not available by Saturday’s press time.
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Kowal painted Old Main with black tempura so that kids of all ages could get down on the road and chalk-up mini-masterpieces.
“The problem with the shell in our roads is that chalk doesn’t stick to it,” Kowal said, in explaining why most Florida kids get little fun out of drawing on roads.
But not when Kowal is on the job.
“By applying the tempura, it’s like writing on a blackboard,” Kowal said.
Even the chalk Kowal brought to ArtSlam was primo. It was vivid, thin and easy to grip, nothing like the cigar-shaped, dusty, garden variety chalk found at all garage sales.
For Manatee County’s Arlene Cagle, her favorite ArtSlam team was not one of the 15 fine art groups at all, but a music troupe called Tapped In.
Tapped In filled the cement parking lot next to the Old Main Pub with the most delightful clack-clack-scrape-scrape-clack-clack and proved you don’t need a wooden floor to make great tap music.
“It’s fun to see dance and see it done in a modern way right here in downtown Bradenton,” Cagle said of the troupe from Dunedin.
Many reported their favorite ArtSlam team was Building Community by Leymis Bolanis Wilmott, Alyson Dolan and Fuzion Dance. That dynamic group of visual artists, musicians and student performers created a live art installation.
Still, others were blown away by two local high school art teams.
“Time to Fish,” a 6 foot tall sculpture by Bayshore High School students, led by art teachers Kathy Fitzgerald and Georgette D’Amelio, was an aluminium coral reef, filled with brightly colored aluminum fish.
“It looks awesome,” said Bayshore junior James Zornan, who did all the sanding with a 90 degree right-angle grinder after school. Partner All Phases Welding supplied the aluminium. “To me, it looks like a reef, where you see this variety of colors.”
“Body ArtSlam” linked Southeast High and Classic Ink Tattoo of downtown Bradenton.
Five students, including twins Sahara and Uriah Scott, Bethany Burley, Melea Willett and Erin Kenney all turned their bodies into canvases upon which they created art.
“Our mission was to capture diversity with body art,” said Southeast art teacher Barbara Kenney.
Southeast High boasts the highest diversity of any area high school, Kenney said.
Richard Dymond, Herald reporter, can be reached at 748-0411, ext. 6686.