I just happened to be in Florida with my wife visiting her dad (he’s a Canadian snowbird) when we heard about this festival. After seeing images of 3D chalk art on the internet it’s always been something I’ve wanted to see in person, so I wasn’t going to miss this opportunity. The International Chalk Festival is an annual event in its 11th year. In 2010, when it was still held in nearby Sarasota, it became the US’s first international street painting festival. It moved to Venice in 2014.

Today, the festival attracts over 200 artists from around the world, from top-tier professionals to amateur hobbyists. Each year is a different theme and this year it was “Evanescent: The art may be fleeting but the memories will last a lifetime.” It was interesting looking at the dozens of pieces and seeing how each artist/team interpreted the theme. The artists are actually creating their pieces during the four-day festival, so you can literally watch them progress as the days go on. While the 3D art tends to be the most crowd-pleasing (you can pose in the art for some fantastic illusions), all of it is beautiful (see photos below).

Need-to-know

2018’s festival is happening November 9-12. The theme will be “Garden of Wonders: A tribute to the marvels of the natural world and the human imagination.” Tickets are $25 per adult for the full 4-day unlimited pass (children under 12 are free). Day passes go like this:

Friday
$5 admission
ONLY Veterans, active service members, and students are FREE

Saturday
$10 Adult
$5 Student

Sunday
$15 Adult
$10 Student

Monday
$10 Adult
$5 Student

Besides the chalk art, there is live music, a large covered seating area, food trucks, drinks (of the alcoholic variety as well), and vendors selling crafts and other products. There are NO PETS ALLOWED, so leave the furballs at home. The festival is a 501c3 non-profit and all proceeds go to the costs of putting the festival on and supporting the artists.

1

Trapped in a jar

This was my fave shot of the day, just managed to capture it right and make it look like she's really in there!

2

Italian artist

There was a big contingency from Italy at the festival.

3

Tom Petty

Gone but not forgotten.

4

Looking down into the canyon

5

Self-portrait

This was really clever.

6

Malala

Female education activist Malala Yousafzai from Pakistan and Nobel Peace Prize recipient.

7

Biblical

8

Excavation

If you look closely in the art you'll see someone you might recognize.

9

Progress

Being able to watch the artists actually creating their pieces was special.

10

The right view

Some of the 3D art had special lenses set up so you could get the best illusion. Seeing it with the naked eye didn't do it justice, you needed to look through a camera lens.

11

3D art

12

Details

Amazing what you can do with some chalk...and some talent.

13

Hovering

I love how this looks like it's hovering above the ground.

14

Skeleton crew

15

Super (old) man

You can see with the outlines that much of the art when I visited was not quite completed yet.

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