Event organizer

‘Masterpieces’: Chalk the Block organizer talks about evolution and affection for the event

As August approaches, this can only mean one thing for downtown St. Joseph: Artists from near and far are gearing up to turn the street into their own personal canvas.

Chalk the Block returns to downtown St. Joseph next weekend, August 5-7, with 35 artists ready to captivate locals and visitors alike with their creations on Broad Street.

The long-running event is one of the most popular in the city, evolving from a mostly local and regional event to one featuring professional chalk artists from over 1,000 miles away.

“Over the past eight years, we’ve built this relationship with some traveling professional artists,” said Daniele Crevier, director of events and operations for St. Joseph Today. “It was great to have them in [to] chalk up the event and also be kind of like a mentor and teach different things to some amateur local artists who show up at the event.

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This year, 15 artists from Berrien and Van Buren counties will participate, along with seven other artists from Michigan and 13 from out of state, including as far away as West Palm Beach, Florida and Fort Worth, Texas. .

Crevier also explained why Chalk the Block remains so endearing to locals and tourists alike over the years. To see the list of artists and browse their work, visit stjoetoday.com/meet-the-artists.

“I think people really respond to it because they can watch the artists on location – basically for two days – creating these awesome masterpieces in the field,” she said. “A lot of them are returning artists – whether they’re professional artists or amateurs – and it’s really cool to see what they bring year after year.”

New this year, four artists will showcase their chalk masterpieces at The Market and Silver Harbor Brewing in the days leading up to Chalk the Block.

Attendees can also participate in the event by voting for their favorite artists in the People’s Choice Vote. To vote, purchase tickets at the People’s Choice tent located on Broad St. Tickets are $1 per vote. The artist with the most votes at the end of the weekend wins the People’s Choice Award.

Artists will begin grilling their layouts and outlining their pieces on Friday, with the People’s Choice winner announced on Sunday after voting closes at 2 p.m.

‘Something for everyone’

St. Joseph Today also encourages attendees to explore the area all weekend. On Friday, the Benton Harbor Arts Association will host Arts in the Park from 6-9 p.m. in the Arts District.

The St. Joe Farmers Market will be open Saturday from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. in Lake Bluff Park. Plus, kids of all ages are invited to show off their own chalk skills from noon to 4 p.m. Saturday in the Giannola parking lot across from Wanderlust Outfitters.

The Berrien County Relay For Life runs from 3 p.m. to 11 p.m. at Lake Bluff Park, while “Remember the Titans” airs during the summer movie series at Milton Park. From 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Sunday, more than 50 antique vendors will be at Lake Bluff Park for Antiques on the Bluff.

“There’s a little something for everyone,” said St. Joseph Today general manager Amy Zapal. “Sunny beach days, a wide variety of shopping, breweries, wineries, distilleries, cider houses, the Whirlpool Compass Fountain, fantastic restaurants, local events, live music and so much more.”

By Ryan Yuenger
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