Friday, November 28, 2014

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The Mount Vernon Chalk the Walk committee has announced the dates of Iowa’s largest-ever Madonnari Festival. Titled Chalk the Walk, the two-day festival will take place Saturday and Sunday, May 3 and 4, 2014, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

The event will feature the work of more than 300 artists utilizing a downtown city street as a canvas and more than a half-ton of chalk. This year’s event will be a juried art festival, and will include awards for 22 artists and more than $1,200 in cash prizes. Last year’s 1st Place Winner, Beth Drilling, will return to the event as this year’s featured artist.


This year’s large collaborative piece of art is a 20’ by 40’ recreation of an original piece of art from Chalk the Walk veteran Tyler Roos. Roos won the spot by submitting a version of his piece “Concerto” for inclusion in an artwork contest offered by the Mount Vernon Area Arts Council (MVAAC). The contest was created to call attention to Mount Vernon’s upcoming Zip Code Day, a once-in-a-lifetime celebration of the small town’s zip code, 52314. The City of Mount Vernon will experience a rare occurrence on 5/23/14, when the calendar date will match the city’s zip code 52314. As the award-winner of his Zip Code Day-themed piece, Roos will receive $200 and the chance to see “Concerto” recreated in large-scale in the center of the festival.



For a $10 donation to the festival, any interested festival participant will be given a set of chalk sticks and will be asked to create a single 2’ by 2’ piece of the image, and when finished, Roos’ original art creation will appear on Mount Vernon’s Main Street as one giant image, colored with pastel chalk by dozens of artists of all ages and abilities.

New this year will be a large area designated as a Kid’s Zone where children will be invited to create original art pieces in a parking lot set aside just for them. Returning this year will be a Culture Fair presented by students from Cornell College who will be sharing international foods, music and dance from several countries. At the other end of the festival grounds, will be a music stage that will include a Sunday morning drum circle, and performances throughout the weekend by several musicians including Gayla Drake, Two Bit Maniac, Kevin “B.F.” Burt, Heart Consort Music and Kimberli Maloy.

“The Chalk the Walk committee is back and ready to share our 9th annual event with residents and visitors,” says Scott Rose, Chair of the Chalk the Walk Committee. “We are partnering with the Zip Code Day committee and will use our community piece to celebrate our Zip Code. And we are inviting all of Iowa to stop by and celebrate their towns’ Zip Codes with us!”

Chalk the Walk is based on an original art form that began in Italy in the 16th century. Called Madonnari, this form of public art was originally done by street artists hoping to collect coins from passersby. Images back then were based on religious themes, and as the Madonna was a popular subject, the artists became known as the “Madonnari.” Applications for artists, sponsors and food vendors are available through the Mount Vernon-Lisbon Community Development’s Web site at www.visitmvl.com<http://www.visitmvl.com> or through the Facebook account at https://www.facebook.com/chalkthewalk.

About Mount Vernon

Historic Mount Vernon, Iowa, is home to 4500 residents, including 1200 college students enrolled at Cornell College. Located in Eastern Iowa at the intersection of Highways 30 and 1, 20 miles north of Iowa City and 15 miles east of Cedar Rapids, it boasts a vibrant uptown business community with numerous antique and specialty stores, restaurants, coffee houses, commercial art galleries, and three National Historic Districts.


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