Street chalkers take to State St. this weekend

· Oct 3, 2001 Tweet

Street chalking, a 600-year-old Italian tradition, will take over the 100 block of State Street this weekend.

Three students from UW-Madison have organized a chalk festival for 13 area high schools to participate in this Saturday.

The UW Kemper-Knapp fund granted money to Matt Dehaemers, Natalie Larson and Ryan Varley, all UW graduate students, as an outreach to high-school students. “We want students to know that art as a career is a legitimate choice,” Larson said. “It offers challenges, but we want them to see a glimpse of what art as career has to offer.”

Over 80 students and their art teachers are expected to attend the chalk festival, which will take place in two separate sessions.

At the first session, held at the Orpheum Theater, 216 State St., graduate students will present their work to high school students and talk about why they chose art as a career.

From 11:30 a.m. until 4 p.m., the students will go to work, creating a block-long gallery of colorful chalk murals on State Street.

“We are looking forward to the community seeing what these students have to offer,” Varley said. “There is a lot going on in the city on Saturday, so we are hoping to see the Farmers Market crowd and the Badger fans out on State Street.”

Participants will walk away not only with artistic inspiration, but also with a $10 gift certificate for Art Mart, 224 State St.

Art Mart and the Madison Art Center both added to the money granted from the Kemper-Knapp fund to contribute to the festival.

“We don’t want this to be a one-day event for them ? it should be ongoing,” Larson said. “We have given the teachers and students supplies to continue their education and to expand their interests.”

The Art Mart matched the funds the graduate students set aside for materials, so the students can walk away with items to supplement their education.

The three graduate students said they are interested in reaching out to students so they can see what options they have for the future.

“Public art programming is really important because they, too, need mentors,” Dehaemers said. “I was really influenced by adults in the art field, and I want teens to have the same opportunity and exposure as I did.”

Chalk festivals have taken place all over the United States and the world. Dehaemers said he participated in two festivals in Kansas City, Mo., in the past couple of years.

According to the three students, chalking festivals can celebrate various types of events and issue. In Madison the graduate students are centering their chalking on celebrating what teens are capable of.

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This article was published Oct 3, 2001 at 12:00 am and last updated Oct 3, 2001 at 12:00 am

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