Sarasota Chalk Festival by Pamela Beck

I stopped by to look at the Interactive 3D pavement art. Over a dozen well known international artists were creating their circus inspired compositions right before the eyes of an awed crowd.

Pamela Beck

Pamela Beck

There are as many ways to think about art as there are to create it. Join Pamela Beck in her column, ARTdart, as she explores and considers the different perspectives that define the art world.


For many of us, childhood memories of drawing with chalk on the sidewalk are not very interesting and often the source of conflict. We used chalk to make arbitrary but enforceable boundaries (Your ball went over the line, so now you’re out!); to play tic tac toe (No, you can’t go first until you finally win one, you crybaby.); and to draw pictures on someone’s driveway until the unimpressed owner invariably came out and yelled “Hey you, Picasso. Go find somewhere else to paint your masterpiece.”

If only there had been something like the Sarasota Chalk Festival in our town. Then we might have earned some respect as we honed our artistic skills for possible future festival participation! (Maybe even hothead neighbor would have piped down.)

And respect and admiration is just what’s in the air when you walk around “Circus City, USA,” this year’s Chalk Festival, a bow to Sarasota’s circus history. For ten days, this free festival spans 300-600 South Pineapple Avenue in Burns Square and currently runs through November 6th.

I stopped by to look at the Interactive 3D pavement art. Over a dozen well-known international artists were creating their circus inspired compositions right before the eyes of an awed crowd. Standing aloft on a two-story scaffold nearby these artists, was Kurt Wenner himself, the celebrated innovator of this art form. He was directing his own crew of artists from Japan, Germany, Italy and Mexico as they created a complicated, original and beautiful work of visual illusion, premiering a new Wenner technique designed for the festival. This elaborate, massive, intricate piece is a must see for both its extraordinary imagery and eye teasing technique.

Between November 1-6, visitors will be able to step into these artworks and among many options, they can strike a pose with lions, kiss an elephant or perch on a clown’s palm. In this unlikely street setting, experiencing art so directly, surrounded by giggles and cries of disbelief, I can’t imagine that even a killjoy could resist attempting an imaginary balancing act along the high wire painted on the street.

Kurt Wenner’s assistants working on his chalk painting for the 2012 Sarasota Chalk Festival. Photo by Pamela Beck

The 2D pavement artists will chalk between November 2nd-4th. Their finished artwork can be viewed November 5th and 6th. And don’t forget to look up as well– painters, spray can and airbrush artists are going vertical, creating artworks on pre-approved private walls around the city. Over five hundred artists are participating in all of these events.

At different times throughout the festival, there are performances of music, dance, acrobats, and street performers, along with special events. The information for all of these can be found on the festival website under “Events.”

To expand on what you learn from your direct chats with the artists on the streets, Clothesline Gallery and Boutique, at 529 South Pineapple, is presenting “Creative Conversations Chalk Festival Series.” In a six-session format, festival artists discuss their work and inspiration with a moderator and the audience. So far, there’s been one interview with Leon Keer from Holland. I like how he described his work: “I never explain my paintings but can say that I am interested in everyday things. I look through old magazines for ideas. I try to paint people’s forgotten stories and encourage others to remember their own stories and retain their memories.”

“Forgotten stories”- one small, beautiful fragment of information like that, helps me see different things in Keer’s work. Henry Darnell is the next artist in this series. He’s up today, November 1st at 7PM.

This festival starts off with a strong sense of anticipation built-in to it. Watching the art being made, you think that its completion will be the cherry on the cake. But along the way, the personal interaction among the audience, artists and the art itself combined with the closing down of the streets for the art, festival guests and visitors, makes the entire Chalk Festival experience an immensely satisfying end unto itself. (Probably like years ago, when the circus village rolled into town.)

At one point, a Swedish family with two girls about ten and twelve years old, stood next to me on the street. We watched the artists chalk on the pavement below us. Soon the mother and I began to talk.

“We wanted to take a vacation with our girls. We knew about Sarasota’s beaches and cultural activities, but when we heard about the Chalk Festival, we thought the girls would love it; so we booked our trip for this week.”

“How have they liked it?” I asked.

“They love the paintings and can’t believe they’re done so well and in chalk. But what my husband and I didn’t expect is the spirit on these streets. Even though everyone is working on their own thing, and many from different countries, it feels like everyone’s connected. It’s very moving.”

For events, hours, address, directions, info and all schedules:
www.chalkfestival.org


To read more about Pamela, view these links:
http://srxq.blogspot.com/
http://whatdogsreallythink.blogspot.com/

To See as Artists See: American Art from The Phillips Collection

February 2 – April 28, 2013
Tampa Museum of Art

The Tampa Museum of Art will host a once-in-a-generation exhibition of American masterpieces from The Phillips Collection. Presenting 105 paintings by seventy-five artists that trace the course of American painting from the 1850s through the 1960s.

February 2 – April 28, 2013
Tampa Museum of Art

The Tampa Museum of Art will host a once-in-a-generation exhibition of American masterpieces from The Phillips Collection. Presenting 105 paintings by seventy-five artists that trace the course of American painting from the 1850s through the 1960s. Artists included in the exhibition are Winslow Homer, John Singer Sargent, Thomas Eakins, Childe Hassam, John Sloan, Rockwell Kent, Georgia O’Keeffe, Edward Hopper, Stuart Davis, Jacob Lawrence, Jackson Pollock, Clyfford Still, and Mark Rothko. The exhibiton takes its title from an oft quoted line from Duncan Phillips’ own writing on art, “All of us can acquire eyes wherewith to see the world as artists see it, variously, selectively, intellectually or emotionally, in full possession of the latent capacity for seeing nature in pictures and pictures in nature.”

Hassam
Childe Hassam, Washington Arch, Spring, 1890, Oil on canvas, 26 1/8 x 21 5/8 in.;, 66.3575 x 54.9275 cm, Acquired 1921, The Phillips Collection, Washington, D.C.

To See as Artists See is the first large-scale, traveling presentation of the Phillips’s celebrated collection of American art, chronicling the broad scope and richness of its holdings. The exhibiton had its premiere in Museo d’Arte Moderna e Contemporanea di Trento e Rovereto, Italy, then traveled to the Fundación MAPFRE, Madrid, Spain, and National Art Center Tokyo, Japan. It has been shown at only two U.S. venues: The Frist Center for the Visual Arts, Nashville, Tennessee, and the Amon Carter Museum of American Art, Fort Worth, Texas. Tampa Museum of Art Executive Director, Todd D. Smith remarked, “The Tampa presentation will be the final showing of this spectacular collection before it is returned to Washington. It will be celebrated with a homecoming exhibition at the Phillips in 2014.”

Winslow Homer, To the Rescue, 1886, Oil on canvas, 24 x 30 in.; 60.96 x 76.2 cm, Acquired 1926, The Phillips Collection, Washington, D.C.

The exhibition unfolds in ten thematic groups:

Romanticism and Realism (Works by Thomas Eakins, Edward Hicks, Winslow Homer, George Inness, and Albert Pinkham Ryder)
Impressionism (Works by Childe Hassam, Ernest Lawson, Maurice Prendergast, Theodore Robinson, and John Henry Twachtman);
Forces in Nature (Works by Marsden Hartley, Rockwell Kent, John Marin, Harold Weston, and others);
Nature and Abstraction (Works by Arthur Dove, Hartley, Kent, Marin, Georgia O’Keeffe, Augustus Vincent Tack, and Max Weber);
Modern Life (Works by Robert Henri, Edward Hopper, Walt Kuhn, George Luks, Guy Pène du Bois, and others);
The City (Works by Ralston Crawford, Hopper, Marin, Charles Sheeler, John Sloan, and others);
Memory and Identity (Works by Yasuo Kuniyoshi, Jacob Lawrence, Grandma Moses, and Horace Pippin);
Legacy of Cubism (Works by Ilya Bolotowsky, Stuart Davis, John Graham, Karl Knaths, Marin, and others);
Transition to Abstract Expressionism (Works by Milton Avery, Alexander Calder, Morris Graves, Alfonso Ossorio, and Jackson Pollock); and
Abstract Expressionism (Works by Richard Diebenkorn, Helen Frankenthaler, Adolf Gottlieb, Philip Guston, Robert Motherwell, Mark Rothko, and Clyfford Still).

About the Phillips Collection
Founded by Duncan Phillips in 1918, The Phillips Collection in Washington, D.C., opened to the public in 1921 as America’s first museum of modern art. An astute collector, Phillips assembled much of his collection by patronizing contemporary artists, often buying a representative selection of their work. With the collection’s growth, in 1930 Phillips chose to give over the entire 1896 house built by his parents to the museum, allowing visitors to encounter the art within the intimate spaces of his boyhood home.

Phillips develeped an amazing eye for building a collection that was based on a vision that arose from deeply felt personal experience and was informed by a lifetime of search and study. Before the great histories of modern art were written, before there was a Museum of Modern Art or a National Gallery of Art, Phillips sought out with astonishing success the works of Impressionist and modernist masters. And he alone among his collecting peers assembled works with such a pointedly public mission, wanting from the start to share with the public the experiences of great works of art in circumstances that were personal and intimate. This exhibition tells the story of modern American art from the viewpoint of a profoundly prescient eye. The late Robert Hughes, former art critic for Time magazine, put it this way: “Everyone who loves early modern art loves The Phillips Collection and envies Washington for having it.”

GENERAL HOURS AND ADMISSION
The Museum opens daily at 11 a.m. Hours of operation are Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday from 11 a.m. – 7 p.m.; Fridays from 11 a.m. – 8 p.m.; and Saturday and Sunday from 11 a.m. – 5 p.m. General admission prices are: adult $10; seniors, groups, military plus one guest $7.50; students $5; and children ages 6 and under free-of-charge. A-pay-what-you-will fee structure is offered every Friday from 4 p.m. – 8 p.m. The Museum’s address is 120 Gasparilla Plaza Tampa, FL 33602. Contact (813) 274-8130 with inquiries.


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