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On Oct. 12 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., Artpace Chalk It Up will coat downtown in chalk murals by San Antonio-based artists, school teams, and community groups for the 16th year in a row.
This year, festival organizers at Artpace selected sustainability as the theme for Chalk It Up. The theme challenges area school groups and artists to create original public artworks that envision a greener world and promote sustainable practices.
Artpace has also strived this year to make the event itself more sustainable. Artpace
Chalk It Up is Certified Platinum by San Antonio’s Office of Sustainability. Tactics to
reduce the event’s environmental impact include reducing single-use plastics and paper
and utilizing renewable energy resources where possible. Chalk It Up attendees are
encouraged to bring a reusable water bottle to refill from the SAWS water station at the
center of the festival.
Artpace information tables will be powered by solar panels provided by Solar Electric
Texas. Visitors can ride to Chalk It Up free on VIA Centro Route 301, which stops in
the middle of the event footprint. For those planning to drive, Chalk It Up organizers at
Artpace advise people to carpool when possible to reduce the event’s carbon footprint.
At the event, ClearStream recycling bins will be available for mixed recycling, and
students from Arnold Elementary School will bring their own recycling bins as part of
their partnership with PepsiCo’s Recycle Rally.
Eighty schools from more than a dozen districts in the San Antonio area will participate
in the TeamWorks mural competition, for which groups of up to 10 students can
collaborate on a 10-foot-by-8-foot street mural entirely out of chalk. The students play an integral role in the festival, creating original works of art that are on view throughout the day.
Murals are judged in secret and winners are awarded in each grade level category by
District 1 Councilman Roberto Treviño at the awards ceremony at 2:30 p.m. on the Argo
Group Main Stage.
Second-year San Antonio Independent School District arts educator Eliana Rodriguez-
Iturbe will bring a team this year to compete.
“Chalk It Up teaches students how to work as a team – how to accomplish something bigger than yourself,” said Rodriguez-Iturbe. “A student can’t do something like this by themselves. Having a team and being able to accomplish a design in four hours is mind-blowing for a young person. I think it might even be life-changing for them.”
Chalk It Up Chair Katie Pace Halleran, who worked for years with area schools at
United Way of San Antonio, recognizes the pivotal role the event plays in providing art
education opportunities for young people.
“Artpace Chalk It Up fills a service gap by giving students a public, creative outlet for making art collaboratively,” said Halleran. “Students are given a blank canvas and an enormous audience to showcase their talent, collaboration, and hard work. That signals to them that what they’re doing has value and creates a lasting impact on their community.”
Artpace Chalk It Up will feature the Argo Group Main Stage and three H-E-B Freestyle
Zones, where Chalk It Up visitors can freely chalk designs in the street. Additional
support for Artpace Chalk It Up is provided by Valero, Centro San Antonio, Raising
Canes, San Antonio Startup Week, Precision Mold and Tool, and VIA, the event’s official transportation partner.
The fundraiser supports free, year-round contemporary art programming at
Artpace. Funds from the festival also support the Artpace Teen Council, an intensive
after-school leadership program serving area high school students.
The free festival will again begin at Artpace, located at 445 N. Main Ave., and stretch down Main Avenue and Houston Street to cover seven blocks of historic downtown San
Antonio. The event is Artpace’s largest community event of the year and serves as the
organization’s second-largest fundraiser annually. In addition to the artwork, the festival
features live music, family activities, and food trucks. Event attendees can support
Artpace by becoming a member or donating at the organization’s information tables
throughout Chalk It Up.