This year marked the 30th Annual Sidewalk Arts Festival hosted by SCAD Savannah at historic Forsyth Park. The festival features art, music and food, but the main draw is the chalk art competition.
Using temporary chalk, competitors take a portion of the sidewalk and draw their own masterpiece. The contest is open to current students, alumni and prospective students.
Jessi Queen, third-year interactive design and game development student, competed in this year’s festival, which took place April 30. “I had participated in the festival before, in high school,” said Queen. “I received honorable mention and [have] been meaning to do it again as a SCAD student. My schedule finally allowed me to do so.”
Upon arriving at the festival, contestants had three hours to render their drawing on the sidewalk. With the help of her boyfriend Zach Herndon, a Georgia Tech alum, Queen decided to create a lime-green tree frog. The frog was perched on a bright green branch with a charcoal background, making the frog the focal point of the scene. The time to create something exceptional was limited, but she managed to finish the piece with moments to spare.
Drawings were judged by experts Ed Murrieta, senior creative director of character art for Carton Network; Dan Weiss, senior creative recruiter at American Greetings and Rachael Cole, art director for Schwartz & Wade Books. The wide-eyed frog did not receive any official awards, but Queen was satisfied by the attention from passer’s by.
“It was really rewarding when people would stop walking by to look at my drawing,” Queen said. “People were amazed at what I drew on the sidewalk. My favorite moments were [when] all the young children who were not interested in walking through the park, being pulled along by their parent’s hands, but would stop and yell, ‘Look a frog! He goes ‘ribbit.’’”
Aside from the spirit of competition, Queen found the festival atmosphere to be fun, with a sense of artistic community. “While I didn’t get to interact with many contestants, because I used every minute to work, I did share chalk with my neighbors,” said Queen. “I was pressed for time, but I was able to rekindle my love for the fine art medium.”
As for participating next year, Queen is hopeful. “I’ll participate in my senior year if I have the time. If not, I definitely will as an alumni.”