Sunday, October 10, 2010

Via Arte

We shucked our usual routine last night for an evening out with friends, and to celebrate local art at Via Arte. For two days each year, local artists decorate the pavement at the Marketplace, an outdoor plaza, with their pastels, charcoal and chalk.

The street painters had been working all day by the time we arrived. After grabbing fish tacos and bean burritos, we met our friends near the ska band that was performing, and watched some funky dancing before walking around to view the art.

Street painting was first recorded in Europe in the 16th century. In Italy, the artists are called madonnari because they often represented the Madonna in their pictures.
 From Wikipedia:
The madonnari were itinerant artists. Aware of festival and holy days in each province and town, they traveled to join in the festivities. They created images in public squares and in front of the local church using bits of broken roof tiles, charcoal, and white chalk. Passersby would often leave a bit of bread or olive oil for the artist along with an occasional coin. After the festivities or with the first rain, both the painting and the painter would vanish... 

In 1972 the first International Street Painting Competition was held in Grazie di Curtatone, Italy. The goal of the competition was to record and publicize the work of (those thought to be) the last practitioners of this traditional art form. The eldest painters were already in their 90s. The 1972 festival resulted in national recognition of the validity of the art form, causing a new generation of street painters to emerge. Within a decade these artists were using commercial and handmade pastels to create copies of well-known masterpiece.
For you owl lovers (you know who you are!), this was a piece done by former students of my husband...

About half the space was reserved by adult artists, and the rest reserved by local schools for their art students.

It was easy to tell which ones the kids appreciated!

After admiring the artwork, we headed over to the bookstore. Can you walk by a bookstore without going in and buying something?? We could not.

And then it was time for ice cream!

Thank you to our friends for the invitation to Via Arte!


Daisy said...

Wow, we would have loved this! I need someone to tell me when stuff like this is coming up. We always miss it b/c we have no tv.

Looks like you had fun.

Diane said...

Stunning! I have seen on other blogs things like this before. Would love to see one in person. I am having a giveaway this week that you might find interesting. come by and take a peek if you have a chance.

Jocelyn said...

how cool! does it wash away eventually? I hope not?

Amanda said...

We're not expecting rain soon, but the Marketplace will probably hose it down. Otherwise, cars will be driving over it in the morning, getting chalk on their tires and spreading it around.

mandi said...

Wow! That was amazing! What a fun night : )

Stephanie said...

Fabulous. Just fabulous.

Anonymous said...

oooh that looked so cool, I would love to go to one of those sidewalk art shows!!

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