The 14th annual Artpace Chalk It Up brought San Antonians in their thousands downtown, along with curious tourists and parents watching their children gleefully draw on every street and sidewalk surface they could access.

“I drew a girl, and a dragon, and a balloon,” said 4-year-old Adalena Quezada. Her mother, Sarah Quezada, spent the day watching her daughter draw among many other children, adults, volunteers and sponsors.

Asked what her favorite part of the day was, Qeuzada said, “I like the whole community getting together and getting out here, and closing down downtown like this. I think it’s awesome.”

Under a red balloon gateway on the Houston Street bridge, Artpace spokesperson Scott Williams reflected on the day’s success, estimating that up to 27,000 visitors streamed to Houston Street and Travis Park for the the free, open-participation event. VIA’s new VIVA sponsorship no doubt helped deliver people, with three free bus routes running directly to Chalk It Up.

The Team Works competition, featuring community groups and students from area schools, generated four winners: Ogden Elementary, Alamo Heights Jr. High, Reagan High School, and Trinity University. This year’s new corporate competition was fierce, with Argo Group taking the crown over startup arts & culture online magazine CO|LAB in a close vote.

The spirit of the day, meant to bring the city together to celebrate creativity and inspire awareness of a revitalized downtown, was perhaps best summed up by two chalk-based messages. The first, from Guerilla Haiku Movement, which encouraged participants to chalk brief poems, read, “I love San Antonio.” The second, from participating artist Justin Parr in classic white chalk on a portable chalkboard, read, “OK OK what’s next?”

Click through our photo gallery below for more images from the event.

Senior Reporter Nicholas Frank moved from Milwaukee to San Antonio following a 2017 Artpace residency. Prior to that he taught college fine arts, curated a university contemporary art program, toured with...