The streets of Crewe town centre will become the canvas for an international pavement art festival next month.
Over the August Bank Holiday weekend (26-27), around 30 artists will be heading to Crewe’s Market Square to take part in ‘Chalk It Up’, transforming the pavements into a riot of colour.
The artists, many of them multi-award winners and world renowned, will be arriving from across the globe, including from the United States, Mexico, the Netherlands, Italy, France and the UK.
They will use chalk pastels to create impressive 12ft x 16ft pieces of artwork and will be competing for a series of cash prizes. During the weekend there will also be opportunities for visitors to give pavement art a go themselves, as well as a children’s competition.
The festival is being organised by Urban Canvas – professional pavement artists from Liverpool – in collaboration with Cheshire East Council, which is funding the event in partnership with Crewe Town Council and local firm Whitby Morrison, renowned ice cream van manufacturers.
While it is the first time Crewe has played host to a festival of this type, the town has a long history of pavement art.
Councillor David Brown, cabinet member for arts and culture at Cheshire East Council, said: “Cheshire East has a rich cultural heritage and Crewe plays an important part in that. But while it is best known for being an historic railway town, it is fantastic that this festival will celebrate another feature of Crewe’s heritage – pavement art.
“Pavement art originated in Britain and during the Victorian era, the artists, known as ‘screevers’, flourished around areas where tourists and business people passed through, such as railway stations. Crewe was no exception.”
The full details of the festival were revealed today during a launch event held at Crewe railway station. Crewe-based artist Christine Edwards gave passers-by a taste of the type of artwork they can expect to see, recreating one of the horses from a Salvador Dali painting on the station overbridge, near to the ticket barriers.
Christine is behind the intriguing pieces of copy art that have been appearing in Crewe town centre over the last few weeks, including artist Peter Howson’s ‘Drum II’.
She will be competing in the festival herself, having won first prize in the copy art category of the James Carling International Pavement Festival Liverpool 2011.
All artists – many of them known for 3D pavement art – will be working on their creations between 10am and 6pm on the first day (August 26) of the festival and the morning of the second, with judging then taking place during the afternoon.
On day one, visitors can add their mark to a giant chalk painting in Lyceum Square from 1pm-4pm. That evening will then see the UK premiere of ‘GESSO – the art of street painting’, a new documentary film about street and pavement art.
On day two, from 12pm-3pm, children can participate in a competition on Lyceum Square where there will be prizes for different age groups.
Visitors will also be asked to vote for their favourite piece of pavement art, with a prize for the winning artist.
Cllr Brown said: “We are looking forward to welcoming artists from across the world to Crewe and hope they will take inspiration from the borough’s distinctive attributes.
“We also encourage visitors of all ages to get involved in this exciting festival, which we hope will help to build Cheshire East’s international reputation as a destination for arts and culture.
“Pavement art is very much temporary – so don’t miss the opportunity to see the creations up close.”
The festival is part of Coloured Earth, a series of international pavement art events and festivals organised by Urban Canvas for the UK.
It is also supported by Toulon International de Street Festival, in France, and Festival Bella Via, in Mexico.
Confirmed artists include:
Vicente Rios Zarazua, Mexico.
Adry Del Rocio, Mexico (artist biography available).
Anthony Cappetto, USA.
Carlos Alberto Garcia, Mexico.
Cesar Polack, Mexico.
Christine Edwards, England (Crewe).
Hannah Bold, England.
Jean-Marc Navello, France.
Jennifer Chaparro, USA (artist biography available).
John Bulley, England.
Keith Fearon, England.
Ketty Grossi, Italy (artist biography available).
Laurellene, Sturtzer, France.
Mark Sheeky, England (Crewe).
Omar Saenz, Mexico.
Ruben Poncia, The Netherlands (artist biography available).