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Why I love Living in Savannah: Reason 89

Savannah and SCAD's Sidewalk Arts Festival - what's not to like?


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The SCAD Annual Sidewalk Arts Festival

This past weekend, The Savannah College of Art and Design held its annual Sidewalk Arts Festival in Forsyth Park. It’s an event I enjoy every year (and not just because I get a nifty free T-Shirt for being an alumnus). The event is always extremely well attended, both by students and wanna-be artists, as well as the community in general.

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Now I marvel at how the students are happy to spend long back-breaking hours applying chalk to the sidewalk. Of course when I was a student I didn’t think twice about it either. And I love that you can always tell the “painters” from the “others”; the painters have ground up their chalk and added water to it before proceeding to carefully apply paintbrush to sidewalk creating smooth renderings on an otherwise uncooperative, bumpy surface. The others draw with the chalk then work furiously to smooth out their handiwork by smearing it with their fingers. Both techniques seem successful for the students who planned ahead properly.

The Festival provides a great opportunity for students to show off their superior art skills. It’s a bit like American Idol. Every year I am amazed by a tiny handful of squares that look like they were painted on canvas by a master painter. Regardless of the medium, true talent is easy to spot and will always take your breath away. Then there are the squares that are valiant efforts that perhaps should have been left at home. At the end of the day though, having a fun is the point, so I try not to be too judgmental, and just skip over the bad art until I find the good stuff.

Every year for the last 11 years, I’ve observed that during the Festival the weather would be perfect up until early evening after the winners had been named, and then April showers would rain down wreaking havoc on the chalk artwork. I’d always assumed that the college struck up some sort of agreement with mother nature. Sadly this year however, the rains arrived early, before the art was completed.

Thankfully I took some pictures early on, before the deluge. Unfortunately none of the squares in my photos are complete, but you get the idea. Hopefully next year the weather will be more forgiving.

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This square by Melody Waller won Best of Show.

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This was one of my favorites!

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Every year at least one person takes on the reproduction of a famous piece. Some are better than others.

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This team of students had a full-size practice piece with them. Since it was a fairly large group (maybe 6) working on the one piece, their pre-planning was essential and proved smart!

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She may have intentionally done hers upside down, but this student made her piece harder to appreciate, since all the others where done for best viewing by passers-by.

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A topical piece.

Click here to see the full list of winners.

Susan Isaacs

Susan’s a multitask-er who prides herself on the vast number of things (read: loose papers and coffee cups) on her desk at any one time, and yet she still manages to keep an eye on all the moving parts at Paragon.

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