The 13th annual Chalk It Up festival, which transforms historic Houston Street into a canvas on which both professional and hobby artists can unleash their creativity, will return to downtown on Saturday, Oct. 8.

While artists take over the sidewalks, the portion of East Houston Street between North Presa and North Flores streets will be closed off to make way for art enthusiasts, live music, performances, vendors, and food trucks.

Since 2004, Artpace has organized the event every year to raise awareness and support for its educational programs. Children and adults alike can partake in hands-on activities led by Artpace’s associate educators in the ‘Make Zones’ or let their artistic stylings run wild in the ‘Freestyle Zones.’

Artpace Director of Programs and Exhibitions Taylor Bates told the Rivard Report Monday that this year’s event will have something for everyone and that she expects it to be the best Chalk It Up yet.

“There will be 50 teams from local schools that will compete to see who creates the best mural,” Bates said. “We will also have featured artists like Emily Fleisher and John Hernandez. They’ll be doing murals as well.”

Hernandez was tasked with designing a T-shirt and creating a 15-by-25 ft. city block-sized mural, for which he will enlist the help of 16 local students, Bates said. Several 8-by-10 ft. sidewalk segments will be reserved for collaborative murals that Team Works artists will create together.

Team Works artists come from all walks of life, ranging from educators, students, and members of schools and universities, to nonprofit, cultural, social, and community organizations. Teams are limited to 10 participants and the $50 registration is handled on a first-come, first-served basis. Team Works leaders are required to attend a meeting at Artpace’s headquarters on Monday, Oct. 3 at 5:30 p.m. to familiarize themselves with the event’s details.

“We’re also going to have a booth that will be teaching music production and DJ skills,” Bates said. “KRTU will have a music stage and six food trucks will be in front of the Frost Bank building.”

In addition to the entertainment from the live music stage across from the Majestic Theatre, Caley Vickerman of Guerilla Haiku Movement will offer a crash course on how to create haikus with chalk and an artist from Quick Draw Photo Booth will sketch fast photos while participants pose inside a photo booth.

Bates said she expects thousands of people to attend the festival throughout the day and that more than 10,000 pieces of chalk will be used to turn East Houston Street into a colorful art gallery.

“This year we’re partnered with CE Group, who put on Siclovía,” Bates explained. “They’ve really amped up the event on the logistics side and they’re helping make it the best Chalk It Up ever.”

The free contemporary art festival is open to the public and runs from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Top image: An aerial view of East Houston Street during Artpace’s Chalk it Up 2015.  Photo by Josh Huskin.

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James McCandless

Former intern James McCandless is a recent St. Mary's University graduate. He has worked with the San Antonio Current and Texas Public Radio.