Chalkfest Brings Art and Tourists to Wausau's 400 Block

While Hodag brings country to the Northwoods, there really something for everyone this weekend, including art lovers. Chalkfest is back and bigger than ever with more than 350 artists expected to leave their marks on the sidewalks of the 400 Block.

While many artists won't begin their piece until Saturday, long time chalk artist Mort McBain got a jump start on his Mona Lisa Thursday.

"I do a traditional piece every year because that's how this festival started in the Renaissance with artists outside of the big cathedrals in Europe, painting on the street for money.," McBain explained.

Renaissance artists would typically paint images of Mary, known as Madonnas.

"I've done a Madonna piece every year for the last 11 years," McBain told NewsChannel 7. "This year I'm doing a Madonna by Cafrati who was an Italian Renaissance painter."

McBain says it will take him about eight hours to finish his work. That's eight hours on his hands and knees under the summer sun.

"When you're on the sidewalk, it's very hot, very uncomfortable," he chuckled. "It's a very physical kind of art to do, but it's very fulfilling because a lot of people can come and actually see you create the art rather than just waiting until the piece is finished."

You can catch his masterpiece and many others Saturday and Sunday on the 400 Block in Wausau.

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