May 16-20: Chalk Art Festival

Featured Event

Sidewalk chalk isn’t just for kids. Anyone can make their own chalk art, and you’ll get the opportunity to do just that during the Chalk Art Street Festival on May 16-20. Renowned street artist Craig Thomas will create his own three-dimensional piece during the event, where parking spots downtown will be blocked off so others can join Thomas in creating one-of-a-kind pieces using chalk.

Sandy Martin, an organizer of May Festival of the Arts, said she’s excited to see what Thomas comes up with. Thomas is known for chalk art that pops off the sidewalk, though he has also created fine art, murals and drawings. A freelance artist, Thomas lives in Missouri and travels throughout the United States and Europe to share his art with the world.

Thomas will be working on his piece for the chalk art festival beginning May 16, Martin said, with a reveal scheduled for May 20.

“Three days to do a major piece like he does is really tight. A lot of times artists like to have a week,” Martin said. “But he can do it a little quicker than a relatively new artist.”

During that time, she said, Thomas will teach anyone interested how to create the kind of chalk art he’s famous for producing. He will have free workshops on Thursday and Friday, Martin said, for those who would like to know more about chalk art.

Thomas will also encourage people to join in, Martin said. She said a few locals have already signed up to make their own pieces. So long as there’s space, Martin said, visitors are welcome to create chalk art, too. A large space will be cordoned off for the event, she said.

“We encourage people to do something like that,” Martin said.

Martin said the event is open to spectators any time, saying anyone can watch the artists work and be part of the judging on Saturday.

“Art is in the DNA of Eureka Springs,” Martin said. “That’s why we celebrate like this every year. We encourage a lot of self-expression and the opportunity to be creative and enjoy it and get involved if you want.”

Jay Bender, who helped bring Thomas to town for the event, said he’s fascinated by chalk art.

“One of the interesting things about chalk art … is that the viewer is looking at something on pavement that is not flat in front of them like a painting on a wall,” Bender said. “Because the top of the piece is farther away and down on the pavement, perpendicular to the viewer, it has to be drawn differently. It’s known as anamorphic art and is calculated to look right from one particular viewing point.”

The Chalk Art Street Festival is one of the many ways to show everything Eureka Springs has to offer for visitors, Martin said.

“It’s something that is highly visual when you come into town,” Martin said. “What we want people to do when they drive around and see these things is say, ‘What’s that?’ and then they check it out and they ask what else is going on. That is artrageous.”

yerscough said the mural will be family-friendly, saying that’s important since the mural is smack dab in the middle of Harmon Dog Park. He’s familiar with the park, Myerscough said, because he takes his grandchildren there when they visit him.

“We encourage a lot of self-expression and the opportunity to be creative”
- Sandy Martin