Hundreds gather for Wausau’s Chalkfest

Artists finish up their art for the 18th annual chalk art festival
Published: Jun. 26, 2022 at 10:58 PM CDT
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WAUSAU, Wis. (WSAW) - This year was the 18th annual Chalkfest Wausau art event and around 400 pieces of customized art lined the streets of the 400-block downtown Wausau.

The sidewalks of the 400-block were transformed into a museum of artwork for Chalkfest.

“It’s a whole sense of community around here. I love how it brings people together,” said Miranda Orlikowski, a chalk artist.

This is Miranda Orlikowski’s 13th year participating in Chalkfest Wausau. She has been the featured artist for the festival for 4 years.

“This year is my first original piece that I’ve done. All of my other pieces have been very movie-themed, pop culture-inspired recreations of other credited artists’ work. But this one here was a mash of a bunch of different artists’ styles and then I just put it together,” said Orlikowski.

This year’s work of art took Orlikowski about 32 hours to complete. She said the inspiration for her piece of art came from things she likes to do.

“I specialize in portraiture and I love drawing horses as well,” said Orlikowski.

Chalk artists use many different techniques, like smudging, to create their masterpieces. Orlikowski said she prepped her piece with line work before filling in the drawing with color.

“I use both the dry chalk and water. So I’ll put down a base layer and I’ll smudge it in and then I’ll spray it down with water to kind of seal it down to the concrete,” said Orlikowski.

Weather can wash away the art with time, but Orlikowski said her technique keeps her art in place for a longer amount of time.

“Spraying it with the water does hold it down for longer periods of time so wetting the chalk kind of turns it into a kind of paint,” said Orlikowski.

She said as long as the rain doesn’t wash away the chalk, the art should last for a week to 2 weeks. There were 10 artists who won honorable mention for their artwork. The top 5 Chalkfest winners were awarded chalk-shaped trophies.

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