Saturday, July 27, AC, in collaboration with PBS, hosted the third annual “Chalk It Up!” with a full slate of some forty artists competing for hefty purses to see who could most colorfully fill an 8′ X 8′ square on the Oeschger Family Mall.
The works speak for themselves: imaginative and creative with colorful imagery that in many cases passed the bounds of the incredible, especially since it was nearly all done sans knee pads. A sampling of works and artist’s comments follow.
Judith Lara stated that chalk to her feels very alive and the blending of the colors creates a sort of magic. The image, which is an EveryChild immigrant, reminds her of her home in Arizona.
Another childhood memory was evoked by Ronda Finney, a senior at River Road High School and state level UIL art competitor, who said that hummingbirds were a major part of her life and associated with her grandmother.
Her work expresses the bird’s fragile beauty against an oversized human hand: the beauty of nature against the heavy-handed treatment by humanity. Youth has a message for all mankind, that needs to be heard.
Rayan Turner, the winner of the first two competitions, and this year’s third-place finisher said that in this show he was trying to incorporate more figures and perspective. He went on to say that the event was just fun because it wasn’t often that he got to be with other artists.
Judith Ortega and Gentry Phillip drew their inspiration from a Pink Floyd song entitled “Keep Talking,” certainly a mantra for this modern age. Though totally different and diverse, like the two Easter Island monoliths, we won’t be divisive as long as we communicate. Hear that Washington?
Ken Tackett of Praeclarus Press, reprised part of a series in the “Art of Motherhood,” representing the bonding between mother and baby in breast feeding. Though of the utmost relevance, the representation hardly conforms with expectations consistent with the Panhandle’s ostensibly conservative clime, a normal occurrence with local art.
Jill Gibson, puissant professora of journalism, demonstrated another facet of her Renaissance Woman profile by doing a first time chalk-up plug for the “Ranger,” the college rag, and the Badger, the school mascot.
Another first time for chalk was done with striking results by Evette Hall and Yvonne Dominguez, dramatically rendering a woman’s face through the range of spectral variegations.
Finally, and just for fun: Casey Williams portrait of Chris Farley is truly extraordinary!
Extraordinary describes the entire event. Hundreds of visitors and scores of families showed up to view the artists and their art, which paletted Oeschger Mall for days. Already commitments have arrived for Chalk It Up No. 4, and even more! Remember: the last Saturday in July! It’s now a tradition.
Thanks to Amarillo College and Public Broadcasting for hosting this event. For this, and so many like it, we can say with gratitude and pride, “Keep Amarillo Artsy! Keep Austin Weird! Keep Lubbock in the Rear View Mirror!!!