Chalk Festival will move from Venice Airport to Sarasota
The impact of Hurricane Ian on Venice Municipal Airport forced the cancellation of the 15th Chalk Festival in Venice and let organizer Denise Kowal scramble to find alternative, smaller sites in Sarasota for 3D pavement artists to create art over several days at the end of October.
“We’re really working with a lot of different places downtown and we’re planning a community event,” Kowal said.
The 15th annual Chalk Festival was scheduled to take place October 28-31 at the airport, with the theme “Vivid.”
“We worked two years on this specific event,” Kowal said. “It was an event we wanted to do in 2021 and we had to hold back because of the pandemic at the time.”
Following the hurricane-induced cancellation, Kowal and his nonprofit, Avenida de Colores, focused on hosting a 3D pavement art event in Sarasota.
Earlier: The Chalk Festival returns to Venice
“We will be looking to do installations throughout the city of Sarasota to support our organization in terms of the courage we have to move forward through the diversity and strengths of our community,” she added.
The current plan calls for 20 pavement artists to come together to create their illusions between October 20 and 31 at individual sites in Sarasota.
Kowal is still working on securing private locations and should apply for permits to use city property.
Given the spread of artwork, there will be no admission charge this year and as locations are confirmed they will be posted on the festival website: https://chalkfestival.org.
Kowal said there will be a public component, with 3D chalk artist Kurt Wenner overseeing a project that several artists will help create.
The date, location and theme of this play – like much of the festival – are still being planned.
While the October event will only feature 3-D art, Kowal is planning a separate event in the spring that will feature both 2-D artwork and flower-based art from “Infiorata and “Rangoli,” which was to highlight this year’s Show.
As early as October 1, Kowal began exploring Ian’s impact on the Venice Airport festival grounds using NOAA satellite imagery at https://storms.ngs.noaa.gov to see how it went.
Immediately after the hurricane, the land became a staging area for Florida Power & Light crews restoring power to the area.
Kowal reached out to the City of Venice for updates as the takeover continued to weigh its options for setting up a smaller version of Chalk Festival in Sarasota.
On Oct. 7, Deputy City Manager James Clinch emailed Kowal explaining that after FP&L leaves the area, airport staff will need to assess and repair any damage to the festival site. .
Additionally, police, firefighters and public safety personnel, deeply involved in hurricane recovery, are unavailable to support the event.
Kowal has been busy canceling hotel and Airbnb reservations when she can and refunding early ticket purchases and sellers.
She expects the nonprofit to lose a significant amount of money due to the cancellation of the Venice airport festival.
Kowal held a three-day Chalk Festival at Venice Municipal Airport in April after back-to-back cancellations in November 2020-21 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Avenida de Colores sponsored an indoor 3D museum and Avenue of Art – an illustrated tour through Sarasota County’s history during the pandemic – while the airport was unavailable due to the pandemic.
Earle Kimel primarily covers southern Sarasota County for the Herald-Tribune and can be reached at [email protected] Support local journalism with a digital subscription to the Herald-Tribune.