DOWNEY - Emphasizing the artistic talents of the students in Downey, the first annual Chalk Festival was held at Warren High School on May 29, as numerous participants worked from 8 a.m. until 4 p.m. to complete their chalk artworks.Hosted by art teachers Nadia Roldan and Svetlana Russell, the great turnout and result of the festival deemed the event a success. "We were trying to have this event to show and give more art to the community," said Russell. "Also, just to showcase some of the talent of the students here at this school, and give the students a chance to participate in things they haven't been able to participate in before." Upon entry into the festival, each participant or group was given their own square of sidewalk, along with a case of chalk pastels to utilize as drawing tools. With the entire strip of cement to use as the canvas, these artistic students blew all audiences away with their spectacular talents and brightly colored images. "Participating was a great and fun experience, but the talent the students and participants had was astonishing," said junior Katie Zamora, a participant and viewer of the festival. "The masterpiece replicas are what really impressed me. They were so detailed and all, I didn't know that was possible to do with chalk." "A part of it is just to have fun and celebrate the arts," said Roldan when asked what they wanted their participants to get out of this event. "We want the participants walking away from this festival to leave feeling good about themselves, and proud of what they have accomplished." With open signups and the sole requirement of a $5 fee for entering the festival, many students of various grade levels set up bright and early on the Warren campus for a full day of experimenting with chalk pastels. "To everyone," said Roldan when asked who was invited to participate in the festival. "We sent out flyers to all the elementary, middle, and high schools, and we opened this up to all ages." Not only were artistic students invited to the event, various clubs were also invited to sell refreshments and foods to complete the festival, in addition to student talent for live musical entertainment. "We think it's really successful this year, and we hope that next year it will grow and the years after it will keep growing," said Russell. "We had a good turnout, and we had more signups than we could have hoped for." In addition, many participants had sponsors for their participation in the chalk festival. Sponsors paid $15 a mural, and all funds collected from the festival will be used for the art scholarships given out to seniors at the end of the school year. At the end of the day, the event was wrapped up with the revealing of the winners of the chalk festival contest. Categories included "Best Rendition of a Masterpiece," "Best Youth," "Most Colorful," "Most Original," and the "People's Choice Award."
********** Published: June 4, 2010 - Volume 9 - Issue 7