Event: Sarasota Chalk Festival


The Sarasota Chalk Festival is pretty much exactly what it sounds like, except for being held in Venice.  Every year artists gather from all over to create incredible, temporary works on a side runway of the little Venice airport over the course of a single weekend, alongside local food vendors and musicians.  This year’s theme was Love & Peace, so there were many hearts and peace signs, peace hand gestures, several appearances by the Beatles, lots of lion & lamb symbolism.  Some of the work was based on classical art, some was original, but it was all amazing.  They start on Friday so I went on Sunday figuring they’d have a lot done by then and they did, but most were still working which is really the point.  The festival is more about the performance than the end product.

Also during the festival have 3D pavement paintings; these are done in a distorted style that gives them a three-dimensional aspect when viewed from just the right spot.  Bring a fisheye lens if you have one, if not, they usually had tripods set up with little fisheye viewer things that you could look or photograph through to get the effect.  The artists will even let people walk out onto the pieces to have their pictures taken within the art.

The same one again, from the designated spotwith the fisheye lens.
The same one again, from the designated spot with the fisheye lens. The viewing tripod is visible at the bottom of the frame, next to my unfortunate shadow. :/

Entry cost $10 for adults, $5 for students and was free for kids under 13.  They also sell multi-day passes but I don’t remember how much those were.  Besides the professionals there was an area where anyone could draw and the little kids were having a lot of fun with that.  The only complaint I had was that it was crowded, go early or even on Monday if you can swing it and don’t mind not seeing the artists actually working since I think they’re basically done by then.



This Week in Awkwardness

If you’re an American, get out and vote! Early voting is up and running, check with the Supervisor of Elections in your county to see where you can go.  In Florida anyone can have a ballot mailed to them (although it’s too late to do that for this election), so I requested mine last week and filled it out at my leisure without feeling like I was holding things up. Yesterday I went to the early voting at my local library, bypassed the line entirely, and just dropped it in the box, easy-peasy.  OK that’s the end of politics for this blog.

I was going to tell you all about my new Instagram account and how I might actually manage to put some pictures on it since I wouldn’t have to come up with full blog posts and how I thought that might be fun, but then I found out that Instagram doesn’t want me to post actual good pictures that I took with something other than my phone and made it impossible to upload from a computer, so I guess I won’t.

I visited the Hillsborough County Fair which is now the second one in a southern state to be completely disappointing.  The racing pigs were fun but that was about it.

I don’t follow baseball, but I live on Earth so I’ve heard plenty about the Chicago Cubs and their World Series win.  What I’m more interested in is this:

An iconic cover and a forgettable one. Re-posted from @JimmyColton on Twitter.
An iconic cover and a forgettable one. Re-posted from @JimmyColton on Twitter.

This is why artists matter.  A true artist is the difference between what will undoubtedly become one of the great sports moments of all time, and something everyone will forget tomorrow.  The Tribune cover is the one that will get saved and framed and scrapbooked, the one that Cubs fans will show their grandchildren, the one that will show up over and over in documentaries, books, calendars, posters, it’ll be recreated in movies, there will probably be a statue of it outside Wrigley Field next year.  The Sun-Times one doesn’t inspire much of anything.  This is why artists matter.



Museums of St. Petersburg

St. Petersburg is one of a handful of pretty little cities out on the peninsula between Tampa Bay & the Gulf of Mexico.  With beautiful beaches & palm-lined streets it’s been a tourist destination since the beginning of tourism.

The Museum of History is on the approach to the St. Petersburg Pier, which juts out into Tampa Bay & is currently closed for construction.  It’s a small but interesting museum, $15 for adults, $12 for seniors, $9 for children, military, & students (this was the first place I got a discount with my student ID!).  Their permanent exhibits include an Egyptian mummy, general area history, aviation, a few signs about pirates, and for some reason two rooms filled with nothing but autographed baseballs.  When I went in April they had a shipwreck exhibit on that showed models & artifacts as well as the technology involved in finding the wrecks & retrieving small bits from them.

Just around the corner is the Museum of Fine Arts ($17/adults, $15/seniors/military, $10/children/students), which holds many works from some of history’s greatest artists in its permanent collection.  After viewing ancient pieces from all over the world, I found myself in the presence of three genuine Monets.  Unlike most art museums, they welcome photography in their permanent collections.

Holiday: Dia de los Muertos



The holiday is supposed to be about honoring the dead, but the art style of Dia de los Muertos is what gets my attention.  The intricately painted skulls, the flowers, the makeup, the costumes – all incredibly beautiful in and of themselves.  So when I found out there was going to be a festival at the local arts community, I had to go.

A lot of it seemed oddly non-traditional.  I read there’d be fire dancers and thought that sounded awesome, I was sadly disappointed.  I’m not really up on my Mexican culture but I’m pretty sure slow jazz and stilt-walking jugglers aren’t a big part of Day of the Dead.

But never mind all that.  There were plenty of performers, decorations, and costumed visitors to make it interesting.  There were dolls and shrines set up around every corner, booths with food and face-painting, and mural panels set up for anyone to paint a tribute to a lost loved one.

The arts mall was beautiful, and it only got better as it got darker and the candles became the main light source.

All in all it was a fun evening, even with the hokey stuff.  I still haven’t been to a true Dia de los Muertos celebration, but this was good inspiration to go find one.