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The Pasadena Chalk Festival

Giugno 2011
In Italia abbiamo i madonnari, artisti che disegnano immagini sacre, con gessetti colorati, su marciapiedi e strade. In America, a quest’arte è dedicato addirittura un festival. I soggetti sono molto più vari e i risultati sono decisamente apprezzabili.

di John Rigg

File audio:

The Beatles by The Beatle guy
The Beatles by The Beatle guy

Speaker: Chuck Rolando (Standard American accent)

This month over 100,000 people will come to Pasadena, California. They are artists and art lovers. Every year they come here for the Pasadena Chalk Festival. The festival has the Guinness World Record for “largest display of chalk art.” The Pasadena Chalk Festival 2011 takes place in the city’s Paseo Colorado Center on June 18th and 19th.


Artists come from all over the world. There will be more than 600. They include professional artists, art students and teams of schoolchildren. They create chalk drawings in many styles, from classical to contemporary, from caricature to fantasy. 13-year-old Jennifer Donis says: “You can watch incredible artists at work. It’s so inspiring!” The artists select the best works for prizes, and the public vote on their favourite for the People’s Choice Award.


Why do artists love the Chalk Festival? Their work, after all, will disappear almost immediately. Award-winning artist Shuji explains: “It’s like a flower. You see the beauty for only a moment, but people remember. People call me ‘the Beatle guy’ because of my drawing two years ago.”


Artists have used chalk since prehistoric times. It was very popular in the Renaissance with artists such as Leonardo Da Vinci and Raphael. Many modern painters have also used chalk, including Matisse, Picasso and Degas.
The Pasadena Chalk Festival is organized by the Light Bringer Project charity. Their president, Tom Coston, says: “We think of the festival as an art gallery without walls.”


The Light Bringer Project is part of a worldwide art movement, Room 13. Room 13 promotes community art projects in schools and local communities. Room 13 began in Scotland in 1994. It was the idea of artist Rob Fairley, who says: “Schools don’t teach children the basic technical skills of art, so children don’t learn to express themselves.” For this reason he decided to create Room 13. The Room 13 concept spread and it became a movement throughout the world. The Light Bringer Project promoted Room 13 in the United States. The Pasadena Chalk Festival also raises money for Light Bringer. The organizers ask each artist to donate a small painting. These paintings are auctioned at the end of the festival. The money goes to the Festival and to the Light Bringer Project. Visit the organiser’s website: www.pasadenachalkfestival.com



The city of Pasadena has a population of 148,000. It is about 16 km north-east of the centre of Los Angeles. The nearest airport is the Bob Hope Airport in Burbank.

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The Beatle guy. Questo soprannome fa riferimento al fatto che l’artista ha disegnato i Beatles due anni fa.