The Sarasota Chalk Festival announced Friday it has secured world renowned 3D chalk artist Kurt Wenner, who has created jaw-dropping images on the streets of the world, ranging from a virtual Renaissance city painted on the pavement in Bettona, Italy, to Absolut Vodka ads to what appears to be deep pool in front of the New York Stock Exchange.
The outdoor chalk art extravaganza is scheduled for Nov. 1-7 in downtown Sarasota.
Wenner will conduct lectures and demonstrations throughout the weeklong event and will also create a 3D street painting with a select number of local art students. In addition, Ringling College of Art and Design will host a gallery show celebrating the work of Wenner as narrated by the artist himself.
The event will include exhibits that trace the evolution of this ephemeral art form from its thinly documented ancient roots to today's diverse contemporary movements.
"I can think of no one better who exemplifies the progression of sidewalk canvases than the artist who began it all," said event chairwoman Denise Kowal.
Wenner, who was born in Ann Arbor, Mich., is widely credited with creating interactive 3D Art in Rome. Collections of his images have gone viral on the Internet, prompting even the myth-busters at Snopes to weigh in and assure readers that those amazing images being passed around the Internet are indeed real. "These images do indeed represent some seriously brilliant work, which should be admired in its proper context and with full credit to its creator," Snopes wrote.
"It's very gratifying to see how my work has inspired a whole new art movement," Wenner said in a festival news release.
It will be free to visit the Sarasota festival Nov. 1-7. See www.chalkfestival.com for a schedule of events.
Wenner attended both the Rhode Island School of Design and Art Center College of Design. He created conceptual paintings of future space projects and extraterrestrial landscapes for NASA until 1982, when he moved to Italy to study art. It was there he began sidewalk art. Wenner's work has been featured in more than 25 countries and a National Geographic documentary.