Are you thinking about starting a chalk festival? Awesome! This post exists to give you good tips, dos, and don’ts to organizing an event. We can even connect you with a chalk festival consultant(s) too! Reach out to us here.
When is a good time to have a festival?
It depends on where you live, but many festivals are in the spring or fall. Some one day festivals take place during the summer, but depending on where you are the heat can get brutal so that is not as common.
How long should the festival be?
A festival can be one day, two days, three days, or even a week! It really depends on your needs, how large the chalk drawings are and artist availability. You will have to block off a space or close a street for the art to take place and this could cost you in permits. You should make the festival as many days as is right for you and your event.
The benefit of an overnight festivals is that artists can go larger and create really impressive pieces. Most festivals “open” at 10 am for viewing, though they don’t turn people away if they want to stroll around in the morning. Most chalk art festivals close around sunset.
How long does it take chalk artists to complete works?
At two day festivals, a standard size for a street painting/chalk art is 10′ x 10′. We suggest 7′ x 7′ or smaller for a one day festival. Artists will usually want to arrive at sun up and will work until the end of the event or the sun goes down.
When is the best time to view the chalk works? When will people come?
Experienced festival visitors usually visit on the final day of the festival towards the end of when the pieces are complete. That’s because they want to see the pieces finished! Things are usually slow in the mornings but gain traction at the end of the day. However, most attendees who come the first day of the festival will come more than once because they want to see the progress of the art.
How should the festival be laid out?
Make sure there is adequate room for spectators to walk around the art and enough space for artists to create their art. You can arrange the art in a single row, a grid, or have double rows of pictures.
Have stanchions or some barrier going around the artists.
Once your event gets established, it can get super crowded and crazy. It makes sense to include stanchions to help keep visitors and the art separated.Especially if it’s a two day festival and it’s almost the end of the second day (that’s when EVERYONE comes because they want to see the finished pieces). It’s not unheard of for a festival to double or triple in attendees each year.
Alcohol and chalk art
Unrestricted drinking near the event can create headaches for artists and festival goers alike. Stupid things usually happen overnight when including alcohol in your event so plan accordingly. Do you have barriers for the art? Are you including overnight security? Make sure you include recreational substances responsibly and include other safety factors to prevent damage to the art or artists.
How do I recruit professional street painters/chalk artists for my event?
Create a plan for your event and have a serious budget for your artists. Artists want to be paid for their time. If it’s an overnight event, artists usually expect overnight accommodations and some meals.
There’s a whole network of chalk artists around the world and word spreads quickly if you reach out to a professional organization like the Georgia Chalk Artists Guild.
What can I offer sponsors if they fund the event?
This is a great question and allows you to be creative in determining just that. Some festivals have us chalk the sponsor logo underneath our chalk art, while some festivals drop a plastic piece with the sponsor name over top of our piece. Most festivals have sponsor names or logos on the t-shirts that they sell at the events. Some festivals give the artists t-shirts and have the sponsor logos on the back of the shirt so that, when people take photos of us working, the sponsor logos are visible and photographed over and over.
Other tips/things to know:
- Many festivals provide chalk for the artists- generally, at minimum, a box of chalk pastels like KOSS International or Eternity Arts.
- Most festivals provide water for the artists, and the best events have a volunteer go around with a cooler every 30 minutes and passing them out to us to force us to stay hydrated. Note that gatorade and powerade minis are also good for keeping artists hydrated.
- We go through duct tape, visqueen/tarps, baby wipes, bottled water, and sunscreen like crazy.
- Some amazing festivals provide masseuses for the artists. However, most of us are working like crazy trying to get our pieces done that we never get to use the masseuse.
- NEVER ASK ARTISTS TO WORK FOR FREE OR FOR EXPOSURE. It’s an extreme faux pas and it shows that you don’t value their work. However, if you are a non-profit or are chalking for a cause then some may volunteer their time if its something they’re passionate about.