Chalk It Up moves to public libraries across San Antonio

by Brigid CooleyOctober 5, 2020
Art students flood Main Avenue during Chalk It Up in 2018. Photo by Ben Olivo | Heron

After 17 years of adding color to the streets of downtown San Antonio, Artpace San Antonio’s annual Chalk It Up interactive art gathering on Saturday, Oct. 10, will instead take place at various public libraries due to the pandemic.

“It’s really the time for Artpace to bring art to, literally, the streets of San Antonio and provide an opportunity for everyone to spend a day creating artwork and watching artists create fantastic murals,” said Casie Lomeli, Artpace's communications manager.

Each year, featured artists, and community and school teams, are tasked with creating themed chalk murals for viewing while the general public is encouraged to participate by creating their own chalk masterpieces on the sidewalk.

Normally, the event would bring people to blocked off sections of Houston Street and Main Avenue. This year, instead of attracting large crowds downtown, where social distancing may not be possible, Artpace is partnering with the San Antonio Public Library to split up the event between 10 libraries across the city.

From 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturday, featured artists will create their murals outside the libraries; the community is encouraged to view them by visiting the library or by participating in their "drive-through experience," where guests take a predesignated route designed to allow mural viewing while staying safely in their cars.

“This year, it’s really meant to be so people can engage in whatever way they want to and in a way that’s most comfortable to them in regards to our current situation,” Lomeli said.

The following artists will be featured at these libraries:
» Central Library (District 1): Fernando Andrade, Cassidy Fritts
» Carver Library (District 2): Bárbara Miñarro, Anthony Dean
» Harris Mission Library (District 3): Isabel Ann Castro, Mark Anthony Martinez
» Cortez Library (District 4): Juan Miguel Ramos, Justin Korver
» Las Palmas Library (District 5): Joe De La Cruz
» Henry Guerra (District 6): Xavier Gilmore, Katarina Guzman
» Maverick Library (District 7): Ruth Buentello, Nathan Segovia, Yoko Misu
» Igo Library (District 8): Richard Armendariz, Alán Serna
» Parman Library (District 9): Madison Cowles Serna, Jasmeet Kaur
» Tobin Library (District 10): Kaldric Deshon Dow, Cherise "Rhys" Joy Munro

To keep downtown involved, Artpace has partnered with Centro San Antonio to hang images of chalk murals from past years in the windows of buildings along and around Houston Street. Downtown visitors are encouraged to post pictures using the hashtag “#ChalkItUpOnHoustonSt”.

Unlike last year, Chalk It Up's TeamWorks contest, where local schools and community teams create their own chalk murals for a chance to win gift card prizes, will also be conducted at a distance.

Artpace provided the 54 registered teams with "Chalk It Up To Go" kits. Teams will create their artwork in their own spaces before submitting pictures of the process and final product for judging. Chalk It Up 2020 co-chairs Katie Pace Halleran and Cristina Peña Walls will announce a winner and 17 finalists on social media at noon on Saturday.

A map of participating libraries, artwork prompts, featured artist bios and information on donating to Artpace can be found on the Chalk It Up website.

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Brigid Cooley is a Heron intern this fall. She is pursuing a Bachelor of Arts degree in communications at Texas A&M University-San Antonio, where she also serves as editor-in-chief of The Mesquite newspaper. She can be reached at, @brigidelise1 on Twitter

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