By Gloria Petit
Chalk dust filled the downtown air while soft jazz set the mood for Saturday’s Chalk It Up event. As visitors strolled Houston Street, they experienced the creativity of the San Antonio community.
Despite the dreary rain that morning, local artists used the wet sidewalks along Houston Street to create chalk murals at the annual event hosted by Artpace.
The murals showcased the excitement with bright colored chalk and the spirit of San Antonio culture by including drawings of city skylines and Day of the Dead themes.
Artpace hosts Chalk It Up to promote local artists, but also to give an opportunity for area students to present their ideas in a city-wide event.
“Chalk It Up is an event that takes students out of their normal environments and gives students the chance to work alongside local and professional artists,” said Taylor Browning, assistant curator of Education, Teen and University Programs at Artpace.
Students from Harlandale Middle School and McCollum High School from Harlandale I.S.D. on the city’s South Side were among those who presented their work, with help from their art teachers.
Harlandale Middle School created a mural depicting a Native American landscape with two teepees, a river and mountains dominated by blue and green. Students created the mural to honor the Braves, their school’s mascot.
“Our goal was to make the mural big enough for the kids to work on,” said Amy Jones, an art teacher at Harlandale Middle School.
Jones, an art teacher at the school for a decade, said she participated in the San Antonio art culture for the last 15 years creating fiber art pieces and sculptures.
Nearby, McCollum High School students used bright colors for their Day of the Dead themed chalk art.
“The students were interested in a Day of the Dead theme, except they didn’t want the traditional sugar skull head,” said Irene Lozano Suniga, art teacher for four years at McCollum.
The mural outlined the skeleton of a horse, with bright purple colors and a ghostly white to represent the bones. In the corner of the mural were bright red and rosy flowers. The students wanted to represent Day of the Dead as a way to celebrate the upcoming Dia de los Muertos events in the city.
Another outcome for McCollum High School students at Chalk It Up was the opportunity to try something new.
“My focus has always been to influence students to try new things,” said Viviana Vega, art teacher at McCollum High School.
Vega added that McCollum art students are searching for resources to make an art car installation to continue to showcase future art projects within the community.