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Something To Chalk About: Festival Set For Saturday In Downtown Ste. Genevieve

It’s been 10 years since the streets of Ste. Genevieve were closed on North Main between Jefferson and Washington to make way for artists using the pavement as a canvas.

The Chalk Art Festival returns this Saturday with a competitive division and an opportunity for families to get in on the action with a variety of events and activities.

“We are very excited to have the 573 Chalk Art Festival returning to Ste. Genevieve,” said Sandra Cabot, the city’s director of tourism. “Creative expression and a passion for the arts is an integral part of Ste. Genevieve’s legacy. Chalk art is a very inclusive medium and there will be opportunities for all ages and ability levels to try their hand at it.”

This year’s event promises to be bigger and better than before.

The Casey Reeves Band will play live music and will take breaks for sessions of karaoke and cake walk activities.

Children’s activities such as Storybook Princesses dress up, face-painting, and stone-stacking will be set up around Main Street Park.

Those creating chalk art have the opportunity to win a total of $250 in cash prizes. Registration for large squares begins at 8 a.m.; and the judging will take place at 3:30 p.m.

All activities, including the contest, are free and open to all ages and all skill levels. Those who want to just watch all the fun can also vote for their favorite chalk creation.

And those creating art can take hints from master street artist, Craig Thomas, a Cape Girardeau-based artist who will be on hand to talk about his award-winning work that has become a mecca for “selfies.”

Thomas won’t be allowed in the competition, as he is hired by attractions all across the country to create large-scale art that sometimes also tricks the eye.

“Be prepared to be surprised by Craig’s ability to craft an amazing illusion as you watch, and get ready for a photo opportunity,” said Ste. Genevieve Art Guild president Carolyn Bach, who made the arrangements for Thomas to be the featured artist at the event.  

The Ste. Genevieve Art Guild will also offer visitors a chance to try their hand at a chalk-like medium — pastel — guided by two art teachers, Peggy Bay and Vicki Cummings, at a booth at the 109 North Main gallery, just for fun.

An exhibit of their work — plus that of other pastel artists Juanita Wyman and Michelle Spencer — will be on display this weekend at Gallerie Melange, next to the Merchant Street Gallery, which has an exhibit of oil paintings by Thomas.

“The Guild aims to promote fine art to the community, and the paintings at these two galleries are not only ‘fine,’ they’re gorgeous,” Bach said.

The 573 Chalk Art Festival takes place from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, July 27, on North Main Street between Jefferson and Washington.

The event is sponsored by 573 Magazine, co-hosted by the Ste. Genevieve Tourism Department and the Ste. Genevieve Art Guild, with financial assistance from the Ste. Genevieve County Community Foundation, the Ste. Genevieve Municipal Band Grant, the Missouri Arts Council, Wolk Insurance and Financial Services, Beanik Cafe, 109 North Main Gallery, and the Woman’s Club of Ste. Genevieve.

(Information in a release from the Ste. Genevieve Art Guild.)

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