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The Journal Gazette

  • Rachel Von | The Journal Gazette Lee Powers adds color to her Beckman Lawson square during the Fort Wayne Museum of Art's Chalk Walk. Held in conjunction with the Three Rivers Festival, Chalk Walk draws on the talents of area, regional and national artists. Individuals and families with no training in art are encouraged to participate.

Sunday, July 09, 2017 12:01 am

Chalk Walk takes art to the street

DAVE GONG | The Journal Gazette

Main Street between Lafayette and Barr streets was awash in bright colors Saturday as hundreds gathered to watch some of Fort Wayne's most creative chalk artists produce intricate pictures and portraits for the Three Rivers Festival's 21st annual Chalk Walk. 

With a nominal fee, participants laid claim to a 4-foot-by-4-foot or an 8-foot-by-8-foot square of street in which to design, draw and color their creations.

Sponsored by the Fort Wayne Museum of Art, artists can enter to win cash prizes across eight categories. The categories include 2018 T-shirt design, Best Use of a Street Blemish, Tromp l'oeil, Reproduce a Work from the FWMoA Collection, Favorite Travel Destination, Portrait of your Favorite Artist, Favorite Fictional Character and People's Choice. 

According to the museum's website, Chalk Walk “entertains, engages, and educates the 40,000 viewers who flock to see the spectacle unfold.

The event is based on an Italian tradition of street painting that dates to the 16th century. 

For Tim Lafferty, 49, the annual art event is an opportunity to be creative and challenge himself.

Lafferty, an engineer at BAE Systems, says he is not an artist, but enjoys the atmosphere and the experience. This year, Lafferty was working on a koi pond, using a technique to give the drawing a three-dimensional feeling. Lafferty said he used more than 20 photos, including those of his own koi pond, as inspiration, but was largely designing his creation as he went along.

Now in his fifth year at Chalk Walk, Lafferty said his past work has included a lily pad and flower, a humming bird and a red-eyed green tree frog. 

“When I get done I look at it and see what I got accomplished for having no training whatsoever,” Lafferty said with a chuckle. 

Lafferty said it's fun to see new people participating each year.

“It's exciting, because they're learning stuff you learned a few years back,” Lafferty said. “And you can teach them things.” 

Fort Wayne resident Jessica Keathley said she comes to see the Chalk Walk every year. She said she loves the art, the crowd and the festival atmosphere.

“People are so creative,” Keathley said. “They're so dedicated to sit out there on the hard cement in the hot sun for hours and hours and hours. I think it's so neat.” 

Chalking continues from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. today. Prizes will be awarded at 4 p.m.

dgong@jg.net