Joseph Martinez creates a portrait of reggae music legend Bob Marley during the Chalk Art Festival at the Roswell Museum & Art Center, Saturday. The sixth annual competition’s theme this year was 100 years of statehood for New Mexico, and featured prizes for both adults and students. Mark Wilson Photos
The sidewalk outside the Roswell Museum & Art Center was heavily decorated Saturday as a result of the annual Chalk Art Festival.
2012 was the sixth year for the competition, and the museum’s assistant director Caroline Brooks said every year they have a theme that participants have the option of including into their drawing. In honor of New Mexico’s Centennial celebration, this year’s theme was 100 years of statehood.
The competition featured prizes for both adults and students 17 and younger. Brooks said despite the weather, the competition had its largest turnout in years with 96 artists and 70 drawings. Categories included best use of medium, best centennial-themed design, and this year featured the first 3-D category. Brooks said 3-D chalk art has been quite popular around the country over the past decade, and it made sense to include that category into the competition.
The event attracted recreational artists such as 14-year-old Autumn Burrows, and those who are serious about art such as 14-year-old Joseph Martinez. Martinez’s detailed drawing of Bob Marley won best reproduction. Though he usually draws with pen and paper, he comes yearly to participate in the chalk contest. This year the two hours he put into the Marley drawing paid off. He was able to do a new theme, and took home $75 in cash despite slight complications.
“I’ve never done a musical theme to one of my chalk arts, and I really like Bob Marley,” he said. “The challenges with this is, once you have it finished, you can’t erase it. You have to be careful.”
Artists arrived at 8 a.m. and had until 1 p.m. to complete their pictures. Winners received cash prizes in addition to gift certificates from the event’s sponsors. Due to an increase in sponsorship, Brooks said they were able to give 20 awards out instead of the 13 given out in previous years.
Meanwhile, out behind the museum, was the Art Block Party. Laurie Rufe, RMAC director, said the block party served several purposes.
“It’s trying to get families to come into the museum, appreciate and learn about our collections,” she said. “And also it’s our 75th birthday today.”
In honor of the occasion was cake and ice cream, live entertainment courtesy of Michael Francis and Friends and the Watermelon Mountain Jug Band. There was also a variety of activities for kids to create their own artwork and booths for local artists to showcase their pieces.
There were also life-size puppets strolling around the premises. Rufe said she wanted different forms of art to be represented at the block party to allow the public to appreciate all mediums of art. She added that the block party is a great event for the city to attend.
“I think it’s a fun community event, and it’s really great that it’s free,” she said. “I see the same faces and new faces, so a lot of people are hooked on this event. … I think it’s the best art event in our community.”