50 Super Fun Summer Sidewalk Chalk Art Ideas – This Tiny Blue House

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The sight of kids drawing on the pavement with sidewalk chalk is practically guaranteed to induce a session of nostalgia. As summertime traditions go, getting down on the floor to let one’s artistic imagination run wild is right up there with running through sprinklers and creating lemonade stands. But what adults trapped in reveries about the long, lazy days of childhood may not realize is that sidewalk chalk art is just a pastime that connects us not merely to memories of our smaller selves, but to a wealthy historical tradition that goes entirely back to 16th-century Italy.

While people have been using chalk to produce pictures since the age of cavemen, the Italian traveling artists known as madonnari appear to have been among the first practitioners of street art. Robin VanLear, the Cleveland Museum of Art’s director of community arts, explains in a post on the museum’s website

In 16th-century Italy various beggars, primarily amputees, began searching for a plus over the other beggars who proliferated in the plazas and market areas around cathedrals, especially on feast days. Many of them decided to create art , and charcoal from braziers became their first drawing implement. These were rewarded for his or her efforts with coins thrown down by pilgrims visiting the cathedrals. Ultimately the more artistic beggars began copying portraits of the Madonna, particularly those by the most popular early 16th-century liturgical artist Raphael. They certainly were dubbed Madonnari, painters of the Madonna.

As the 2011 book Asphalt Renaissance, written by the road artist Kurt Wenner along with B. Hansen and M. Hospodar, explains, madonnari realized they might maximize their earnings by working as traveling artists, moving between towns in accordance with religious festival schedules. The Italian tradition continued for centuries, and soon street art began popping up in countries like England and Germany as well.

The English counterparts to madonnari, referred to as “screevers,” emerged in Victorian London and remained a fixture of the city up until World War II. Screevers were less closely connected with religious subject material, but like the madonnari, they made a coping with their ephemeral art.

In George Orwell’s Down and Out in Paris and London, an autobiographical book about poverty published in 1933, the writer describes his encounter with a screever named Bozo. A self-declared “serious screever,” Bozo specialized in drawing political cartoons informed by the day’s news. (“Once a kid got its head stuck in the railings of Chelsea Bridge,” Bozo said. “Well, I learned about it, and my cartoon was on the pavement before they’d got the child’s head out of the railings.”) Orwell suggests Bozo had ample competition among London street artists: “In those days there clearly was a screever almost every twenty-five yards along the Embankment.” But whereas lots of Bozo’s peers drew the same thing each and every day, Bozo distinguished himself by taking care of something new—a strategy that he said paid off. “The best thing’s to keep changing your picture, because once they help you drawing they’ll stop and watch you,” he explained.

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Screevers were also memorialized in the 1964 Disney film Mary Poppins, set in Edwardian-era England. In the song “Chim Chim Cheree,” Bert, the twinkly-eyed chimney sweep played by Dick van Dyke, boasts about his side hustle Today I’m a screever, and as you are able to see

A screever’s an artist of’ighest degree
And it’s all me own work from me own memory

Bert is notably less concerned than Bozo about building a living—although the same can’t be said about his hat. “No remuneration do I ask of you,” he sings, “But me cap would be glad of a copper or two.”

As VanLear explains, many European street artists fought in World Wars I and II, which meant that the practice of professional sidewalk chalk drawing faded for a great part of the 20th century. Then, in 1972, the Italian village of Grazie di Curtatone made a decision to host an international street-painting competition to honor the annals of madonnari. The competition, known as Incontro Nazionale dei Madonnari, was a great success, attracting countless European artists and helping to revive curiosity about sidewalk painting.

Roughly a decade later, its profile got another boost from Wenner, who’d become the founder of 3D street art—a technique that uses tricks of perspective to produce pavement drawings appear to soar from the sidewalk or sink into it. Wenner was studying classical art in Italy in the 1980s and started drawing on pavement as a way to produce money. He eventually made his way to Grazie’s festival, where he took first place 36 months in a line, then brought his enthusiasm for street painting back once again to the US, launching an annual festival—the very first in the country—in his hometown of Santa Barbara, California, in 1986.

By the time Asphalt Renaissance was published in 2011, the US was home to between 50 and 100 street-painting festivals each year. Europe has additionally experienced a street-painting festival boom, with events in such varied locales whilst the Netherlands, Germany, France, England, and Serbia; you will find options in Australia, Canada, and Mexico, too. So in case you encounter some kids smeared with chalk dust this summer, let them know to keep at it. There’s a future in sidewalk chalk yet.

Here are 50 summer sidewalk chalk art ideas that are guaranteed to inspire you this summer. These fun chalk art projects are a great way to spend warm summer days being creative with the kids. #chalkart #chalkartsidewalk #chalkartkids

About Dayana Melton

Dayana Melton
Hello my name is Dayana Melton. I have been working on chalk art for a long time. I will try to explain and show you the experiences I have been working on in chalk art for a long time. If you have any suggestions or questions, you can write to me from the contact section.

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