Students get involved with Chalk the Block
Published: Thursday, October 11, 2012
Updated: Friday, May 17, 2013 12:05
Chalk the Block returns for its fifth year with entertainment from previous years and additional exhibits.
The three-day event will take place on Oct. 12–14, at the Arts Festival Plaza, Cleveland Square Park and San Jacinto Plaza in downtown El Paso.
“This year Chalk the Block is expecting about 35,000 in attendance,” said Kaycee Olsen, downtown arts district coordinator. “Every year we work hard to change the program so there are always several never-before-seen art installations.”
According to Olsen, the event will feature more than 40 chalk artists showcasing their works and competing for the prize of $2,000, which will be given to the “Best of Show.”
Aside from the chalk artists, the event will also include performances by nationally renowned aerial acrobatic troupe, Wise Fool, and the “Mirazozo Luminaria,” a monumental inflatable sculpture by British artists Architects of Air.
There will also be artwork brought in from other cities such as the “Seed Pod,” an interactive sculpture by the Tucson artist collective Creative Machines, and the “Woozy Blossom,” an outdoor sculpture by Manhattan artist Matthew Geller.
“This year we have the largest installations MCAD (Museum of Cultural Affairs Department) has ever programmed,” Olsen said. “Additionally, this year will feature an art installation that is designed through crowd-sourcing.”
Olsen mentioned that there will also be local art including Adrian Esparza’s “Weaving Walls,” an installation of images from the Otis A. Aultman Historic Photography Archives, and the pop-up galleries during the gallery crawls on Oct. 12.
“It’s the definite can’t miss part of the festival,” she said.
The goal of the MCAD is to have more supporters so the event could get bigger and bigger, Olsen said.
“In a perfect world we would like additional support from the community and local businesses,” Olsen said. “And for everyone to spread the word and bring their friends along to the event.”
Yajaira Enriquez, senior studio art and graphic design major, said she will be participating for the first time at Chalk the Block as a way of getting involved and showing support. She will be competing at the San Jacinto Plaza on Oct. 12.
“I am an art major, so I saw this as an opportunity, because there are not many events like this for us,” Enriquez said. “Our community doesn’t have the best impression of artists so it’s a place where we can join.”
Other UTEP students have also gotten involved with Chalk the Block this year.
With the help of Anne Giangiulio, professor of art and graphic design, a group of graphic design students got together and created a series of posters to promote the event.
“I am organizing this group of students who were my ‘Graphic Design four: Typography’ class students in the spring 2012 semester,” Giangiulio said. “They were given the assignment to design a poster for the event. My two classes competed and the best posters were judged by the other graphic design professors, as well as the Chair of the Department of Art.”
According to Giangiulio, the posters series began as a class project but got recognized by the Chalk the Block committee.
“To my surprise, early in 2012, Marina Monsisvais (Chalk the Block organizer) asked if I would be willing to curate one of the pop-up galleries for this 2012 CTB,” Giangiulio said. “Needless to say, I was thrilled at the opportunity and really wanted to get my students involved in the event in an organized way that would showcase their talents.”
Giangiulio’s students will be selling their poster art at the festival for $25 in one of the pop-up gallery spaces.
“One hundred percent of the proceeds go directly to the student who designed that poster. So, they have that monetary gain,” Giangiulio said. “However, I think they’d all agree that the opportunity to show an audience of around 40,000 people their work is the real gain here.”
According to Olsen, last year’s Chalk the Block generated over $875,000, which impacted local businesses’ economy greatly.
“Chalk the Block has received several awards for excellence and has been recognized by both the Texas Downtown Association and the International Downtown Association,” Olsen said. “It’s important to note the incredible economic impact Chalk the Block has for downtown businesses.”
Chalk the Block will also have a beer garden that will open at 10 p.m. after the gallery crawls. There will also be a roof top dance party at the top of the Mills Building parking lot, featuring Deejay collective Souldies – Cult Heroes, Old Rough & Ready, Dairy Aire and Deejay Maggot Brain.
For a complete schedule of the events, visit chalktheblock.com.
Leonardo Montañez may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.