The people’s art

It wasn’t long ago one had to frequent railyards, underpasses, and other tucked-away urban spaces to witness street arts like graffiti and stencil work, hip-hop music and dance. The term “street art” implied “underground,” an act engaged in hiding.

But the so-called street arts have skyrocketed in popularity over the years, and contemporary art has embraced their many forms. Engaging in artwork, side-by-side in the street, is a way to animate our shared spaces and encourage community interaction around the arts.

Now in its second year, the Street Arts Festival in Breckenridge transforms the downtown Breckenridge Arts District, from Ridge Street along Washington Avenue to Main Street, into a place where community artists of all ages gather—joining established graffiti, chalk, hip-hop, and breakdance artists—to make art.

The event takes place July 2-4 and includes demonstrations by graffiti artists, who will be creating family-friendly spray paint works on special cellophane strung between lampposts at the Arts District. Professional chalk artists—some creating impressive 3D illustrations—will render their visions on asphalt. There will be a DJ spinning tunes, a break dancing group throwing down, and hip-hop dance classes offered on a first-come, first-served basis. The Arts District also plans to offer some make-and-take art projects for families and kids.

Across Washington Avenue at the Tin Shop, guest artist Cara Lynch from New York will share her spray-chalk work and the techniques she uses to make it. She will create a spray chalk installation on the Arts District campus, and host a community project.

And, of course, the chalk art contest returns—a Fourth of July favorite that’s been going on for more than a decade. Children spend a couple hours completing their chalk drawings on Washington Avenue, followed by judging and cash prizes.

“Drawing with chalk is nostalgic,” said Robb Woulfe, CEO of Breckenridge Creative Arts, the group putting on the Street Arts Festival. “It brings back memories so many of us share. We think this is a great opportunity for people to connect, to express themselves creatively, and also to see some excellent work by our featured artists.”

“It’s exciting to see the street filled with families and kids being creative,” said Jenn Cram, BCA’s director of public programs and engagement. “Washington Avenue becomes bright and colorful for a moment in time—and then the rain comes and washes it all away. It’s true ephemeral art.”


Cara Lynch // caralynchart.com
Naomi Haverland // naomihaverland.com
Benjamin Hummel // peopleofthechalk.com
James “East” Foster // facebook.com/thealphachild
Chuck “Emit” // graffiti.org/emit Gamma // gammagallery.co
Micah Hollenbeck // facebook.com/denverchalkart

Photos:  Liam Doran