Market Square gets splash of color from ninth annual Chalk Walk

Thousands gathered in Market Square and Krutch Park on Saturday, April 1 to witness various chalk murals for the ninth annual Dogwood Arts Chalk Walk.

The chalk artists ranged from families and adults to children and high school art classes.

Every mural had an image1inspiration behind it. “It was a combination of mine and my children’s favorite things because they wanted to participate this year, too. Butterflies are my favorite. My daughter wanted a rainbow and my son wanted the Smoky Mountains, so we just combined all those together,” Amber Willis said.

Artist Fawne DeRosia decided to go with somebody who people would instantly recognize in East Tennessee.

“Honestly, I did a little digging on who is famous around Knoxville, because I knew I was coming here and Dolly was the first person who popped up, so I was like she’s awesome, let’s do a portrait of her,” DeRosia said.

Connie Passarella, one of the over 25,000 attendees, was amazed at the level of talent of the artists.image2

“It’s really interesting because I’ve never seen anything like it. I have seen it in books before and I wanted to do it at home, so I always like to take back ideas like this,” Passarella said.

Founder Kathy Slocum discusses the reasoning behind the use of chalk for the festival.

“The chalk is used because it’s water soluble and we don’t have to worry about it lasting forever, good and bad. Monday it’s going to rain and this will all be gone,” Slocum said. “But that’s part of the intrigue of this art, is that it’s not permanent. It’s here today and gone tomorrow.”

Artists began their pieces at 8:30 a.m. and had to be finished by 4:30 p.m. Attendees could vote for their favorite piece and the awards were given later in the afternoon.

For the list of winners for this year’s Chalk Walk, check out their website.

Feature Image by Vanessa Rodriguez

Edited by Katy Hill

Dogwood Arts Chalk Walk welcomes artists, onlookers

Onlookers watch as Chalk Walk participants finish their pieces. //Photo by Jolin Baker
Onlookers watch as Chalk Walk participants finish their pieces. //Photo by Jolin Baker

The Dogwood Arts Chalk Walk occurs annually in Market Square when the dogwoods are in full bloom for spring. The chalk walk is not where you walk around with chalk in your hands or on your feet. It is for artists and non-artists alike to come to Knoxville to chalk masterpieces on the sidewalks.

The artists themselves range from the age group seven to senior citizens. There are no artistic qualifications to join the Dogwood Chalk Walk.

“This is our first year, and my 9-year-old son has been begging me to sign up,” said Johnna Bullard, who drew a Knoxville inspired chalk piece.

Her son chalked the Knoxville skyline at night with a Batman signal shining in the background.

“I like it when the crowd dies down, and I can go stand at the base of the drawings and see the full effect,” Bullard said.

Many artists drew original artwork that they came up with on the spot, or they paid tribute to famous artists by depicting them on the sidewalks of Market Square. Some of them left their Instagram username at the bottom of their piece.

One artist drew a flower to celebrate the arrival of spring. //Photo by Jolin Baker

The Chalk Walk has been growing in popularity since it was it was first started eight years ago. People get to share pictures they draw everyday with the world, like Sara Smith, who drew a picture to celebrate upcoming warmer weather.

“I draw flowers like this all the time,” Smith said.

For more information on the Dogwood Arts Festival and the Chalk Walk, visit their official website.

Photos by Jolin Baker

Edited by Taylor Owens