WHAT: THE PASADENA CHALK FESTIVAL, the world’s largest street painting festival, will draw nearly 600 artists from across Southern California, who will use 25,000 sticks of pastel chalk to create spectacular murals on pavement the size of two city blocks! Amazing works of art from every style imaginable, classical to contemporary, whimsical and fantastic to socially relevant, will be created and shown over the course of the weekend. This one-of-a-kind public art event, now in its 16th year, is free-of-charge at Paseo Colorado. The most outstanding murals, as selected by the participating artists of the 2008 festival, winning jetBlue round trip tickets, along with other special awards from our sponsors, will be announced at the event’s conclusion. THE PASADENA CHALK FESTIVAL attracts artists and design teams from many regions of the country and virtually every Los Angeles-area community. Leading art schools, museums and cultural centers are also represented at the festival. Chalk benefits the community arts programs of the Light Bringer Project, a Pasadena-based nonprofit arts organization. WHEN: SATURDAY, JUNE 14 AND SUNDAY, JUNE 15 10:00 a.m. – 7:00 p.m.WHERE: Paseo Colorado located at 280 E. Colorado Blvd. Pasadena, CA 91101 (between Marengo and Los Robles Ave.) Murals on Garfield Promenade and Upper Fountain Court VISUALS: 600 talented artists of all ages and ethnicities - professionals, non-professionals and students Spectacular masterpieces created on pavement throughout Paseo Colorado’s beautiful Garfield Promenade and Upper Fountain Court Thousands of visitors – young and old - each day Madonnari Bistro featuring light fare and cocktails and proceeds benefiting the Light Bringer Project Live music representing many cultural influences Small painted canvases by festival chalk artists available for viewing and purchase at the Art Gallery
The Pasadena Chalk Festival began in 1993 after a summer intern at the Light Bringer Project attended a street painting festival in Paris and brought back her amazing pictures and observations. From there, the festival has grown to become the world’s largest street painting event, boasting more than 600 artists and 70,000 visitors each year. To view the winning murals of the 2007 Pasadena Chalk Festival, please click here. Below are some more fun and interesting facts about the festival that keeps artists and visitors alike coming back for more.
Chalk It Out! Festival Extremes
The very first festival in 1993 drew 125 eager artists, while the 2005 festival was the largest ever with 621 artists.
Local Pasadena artists may travel a mile or less to get to the festival, but artist Gary Palmer once traveled roughly 5,200 miles – all the way from Ireland – to participate.
The youngest festival participant ever was Sasha Martinez – he completed his first individual mural at the tender age of seven! Sasha is now a junior in high school and created a mural for the 2006 festival. The oldest festival artist is unknown, though there are many participants in their 50’s and beyond.
Chalk By the Numbers…And the Colors
Festival artists use more than 25,000 sticks of chalk during the two-day festival.
Blue is the most popular color used (8,000 sticks used every year!), as it serves as the under-drawing base tint, followed closely by black and white.
Brown, beige, fuchsia and orange are the least popular chalk colors.
Artists at the festival learn to barter with others in order to get the chalk colors they need…and to make new friends!
Chalk It All Up to Hard Work and Planning
Some muralists create their chalk paintings in about eight hours, while for some of the true masterpieces of the festival, artists utilize all 20-plus hours of daylight that the festival weekend allows.
The largest mural ever created at the festival featured a giant red squid – whose tentacles extended more than 20 feet. Team members wore red squid-eye t-shirts to motivate them to complete their “giant task!”
Over 700 artists using chalk as their medium and concrete as their canvas created spectacular murals at the 2007 PASADENA CHALK FESTIVAL. Against the beautiful outdoor village style setting of Paseo Colorado, visitors from all over watched a new generation of artists design their chalk murals in a variety of styles from classical to contemporary, whimsical and fantastic to socially relevant.
For centuries artists (known in Italy as “Madonnari” or street painters) have painted beautiful images on the boulevards and squares of great cities, using the pavements as the street surfaces as their canvas. After World War II, scores of itinerant artists made their living from the unique art of street painting.
Currently prestigious cultural festivals in Europe, North and South America celebrate this traditional art form and have become popular attractions for artists, art lovers and people from all walks of life.
Now in its 16th year, the PASADENA CHALK FESTIVAL is the largest in the world by sheer numbers of participating artists. In fact, previous festivals have attracted artists and design teams from many regions of the country, across Southern California, and virtually every Los Angeles-area community. Leading art schools, museums and cultural centers are also represented at the festival.
PASADENA CHALK FESTIVAL is produced by Paseo Colorado and the Light Bringer Project, as a financial benefit for the nonprofit arts organization, raising proceeds for vital arts and learning programs in the schools and cultural opportunities for those of all ages. Each artist will volunteer up to 20 hours of his or her talent and energies to make this possible.
History in Los Angeles
2006 PASADENA CHALK FESTIVAL, Paseo Colorado, Pasadena2006 produced many milestones for the annual event including the renaming of ABSOLUT CHALK to the new PASADENA CHALK FESTIVAL, the introduction of the "Famous Fathers" award category, national sponsorships, record-breaking attendance and over 43 million media impressions, making it the most successful chalk festival in history.
ABSOLUT CHALK, 2005, Paseo Colorado, PasadenaThe 2005 ABSOLUT CHALK Street Painting Festival made a return appearance to Paseo Colorado on Saturday, June 25th and Sunday, June 26th. At the festival, almost 700 artists created their unique murals amidst the beautiful setting. Over 75,000 visitors and 10 million media hits regionally, made this event the biggest ever in its history.
ABSOLUT CHALK, 2004, Paseo Colorado, PasadenaAlmost 700 artists, created approximately 200 murals for Absolut Chalk’s 12th annual event. The festival, which took place in the at the center plaza of this shopping village.
ABSOLUT CHALK, 2003, Centennial Square, Pasadena City HallOver 650 artists, the largest in the festival’s history, created over 200 stunning street murals for Absolut Chalk’s 11th year event. Award-winning chalk artists create their newest murals as part of this year’s centerpiece feature.
ABSOLUT CHALK, 2002, Centennial Square, Pasadena City Hall650 visual artists return to Pasadena’s civic center to participate in this unique public art form. 13 Tibetan Monks from the Gynto Vajrayana Center participated as the festival’s special guests. They constructed a brilliant, distinctive sand mandala on-site in celebration of Absolut Chalk’s 10th anniversary. Gates opened free to the public.
ABSOLUT CHALK, 2001, Centennial Square, Pasadena City HallAfter an overwhelming response to the public drawing area the previous years, a new ‘Chalkland’ area was designated for families, children, and inspired newcomers to the festival, to try their hand at the chalk art medium.
ABSOLUT CHALK, 2000, Centennial Square, Pasadena City HallAs the number of artists continues to rise, the centerpiece mural this year reflects the multicultural nature of the event, featuring a giant hand, symbolizing unity, with five artists representing different social and ethnic experiences, each doing a ‘finger’ and all completing the center palm.
ABSOLUT CHALK, 1999, Centennial Square, Pasadena City HallOver 400 artists, including many from different regions of the country, Europe, and Japan, descended on the public square at Pasadena City Hall to create pastel chalk murals in support of arts education and community arts programs. The ‘Absolut Art Gallery’ on-site was established as another way to share artists’ works with the public.
ABSOLUT CHALK, 1998, Centennial Square, Pasadena City HallApproximately 400 visual artists created more than 150 murals in support of arts and cultural opportunities in the community. Guest Aboriginal artists from Brisbane, Australia and the continent’s Central Desert created the festival’s centerpiece mural in their ‘dreamscape’ dot motif.
ABSOLUT CHALK, 1997, Universal CityWalkOver 350 artists participated in creating 150 murals at the well-known Los Angeles entertainment venue. Absolut officially joined the chalk event as title sponsor. All the artists participated in creating a large centerpiece mural, each drawing in a square foot of space, to the outline of the signature Absolut bottle shape.
Chalk it Up, 1996, West Hollywood Park (at Pacific Design Center)Over 300 artists participated in West Hollywood, raising dollars for community arts programs and homeless support services. Kurt Wenner, recognized as one of the world’s greatest street painters or “Master Madonnari,” served as guest centerpiece artist. The mural was featured in international publications as part of the celebrated `Absolut Artist` advertising series.
Chalk it Up, 1995, Old Pasadena Historic DistrictOver 200 artists participated in the third annual chalk festival raising funds for community arts programs in the heart of this popular Old Pasadena retail/entertainment center.
Chalk it up, 1994, Centennial Square, Pasadena City HallMore than 200 artists participated in the second year event, which supported community arts opportunities and homeless programs in the San Gabriel Valley. At the time, the number of participating artists made it the largest street painting festival in the world.
Chalk on the Walk, 1993, Centennial Square, Pasadena City HallOver 150 visual artists participated in this first Los Angeles-area event. Proceeds went toward community arts programs and HIV/AIDS resources.
back to top