Art — NHIA chalks it up to May 14

NHIA chalks it up to May 14

By Michelle Saturley


Sidewalk art festival may become annual event for Art Institute

Are you a frustrated artist? If you’re looking for a quick, fun and temporary way to show off your creativity, check out the Sidewalk Art Festival on May 14 at Victory Park. The festival is presented by the students and faculty of the New Hampshire Institute of Art and is open to the public.

The idea for the festival came from faculty members at NHIA, who had participated in a similar but much grander event at the Savannah College of Art and Design in Georgia.

“In Savannah, the sidewalk chalk event is planned the same weekend as alumni weekend, and it’s a big deal,” said Stephanie Bergeron, development assistant at NHIA. “We decided to do something smaller and involve the community. We wanted to keep it fun.”

Using only sidewalk chalk and their imaginations, NHIA students and faculty will participate in a juried competition that is also open to the public. Kids and adults, teams and individuals are encouraged to join the NHIA competitors. Each team or person that registers for the event will be assigned a patch of pavement at Victory Park to decorate any way they choose. The judges will survey the finished designs and hand out awards at the end of the day, around 3 p.m. It’s free to participate, and there are several categories of awards, from “Best in Show” to “Most Creative.”

Not up for a competition? Bergeron says that there will be an area of the park reserved for people who just want to come and draw, without the pressure of going head-to-head with fine arts students.

“We really want the community to come out and be a part of this, even if they don’t want to compete,” she said. “The competition is just one part of the event.”

When the Institute planned the event, they enlisted the help of the Manchester City Library. Events coordinators at the library have been presenting concerts and kids’ shows at Victory Park for years, so they had plenty of experience.

“It turned out the weekend we chose for the sidewalk festival was the same weekend as the Library’s book sale, so it was good timing,” Bergeron said. “They were having a children’s puppeteer at the Library for their event and now she’s coming over to our event across the street as well. The Boys and Girls Club’s hip-hop dance group will also be performing.”

Bergeron said that if the event is a hit, the Institute hopes to make it a yearly thing.

“The event in Savannah has grown into this huge, weekend-long festival, and we wouldn’t mind if that’s what happens here,” she said. “But we are starting small for now and hoping the community likes it. If so, we will be back next year.”

The Sidewalk Art Festival at Victory Park, located on Pine Street directly across from the Manchester City Library, begins at 10 a.m. on Saturday, May 14. To register for the event ahead of time, call the Institute of Art at 623-0313, ext. 546. If you want to register the morning of the event, please show up 15 minutes before the event begins. Registration is free.

- Michelle Saturley

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