It’s time, Campers, for the second annual Chalk the Block contest sponsored by the Museum and Cultural Affairs Department as well as the El Paso Community Foundation. Last year saw a decent turnout, some excellent music and, despite some grumbling that not all block quadrants were created equal thus giving some artists an advantage, artists and the public at large seemed to have a good time. This years contest is open to all artists from El Paso, Las Cruces and Juarez. It will also feature food vendors, events for kids as well as live music
Last year, I gave the group putting this on a hard time because I felt participants were being made to jump through an unnecessarily large number of hoops, but I have learned that although we are talking about chalk, a public sidewalk and works which will be gone within days, it is under the bailiwick of the public arts department and therefore considered a public art projectsubject to the same regulations as that governing all public sculptures.
This seems ridiculous to me, but then I have often been accused of harboring anarchistic tendencies, and there are cash prizes promised in addition to a chance to show off your chalk drawing skills.
So in order to claim your place in the sun you need to: Decide whether you want to enter as a Showcase, Emerging or High School artist or artist team. You then submit your application by July 31 and a committee of artists and community members will select those allowed to apply their design to the sacred sidewalk. You must also attend a chalk workshop. Complete details and submission requirements are apparently available at www.chalktheblock.com. The selected artists will be announced August 14th, and the event is to be held Saturday September 19th from noon to 6 p.m.
More info is available by contacting Marisol Lopez, Public Art Program Specialist at (915) 541-4257 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org. -david sokolec