Chalk art event draws more than 100 competitors

BROWNSVILLE — In bold teal, orange and blue, a Koi fish drawn in chalk represented the hopes and dreams of 9-year-old budding artist Marisa Hernandez.

The Children’s Museum of Brownsville on Saturday hosted its Third Annual Chalk Art Festival in Dean Porter Park, with a competition among chalk artists divided by age group — youth, children and adults.

As Hernandez concentrated on coloring the sidewalk, a sketch of her fish sat nearby.

“It’s interesting to me, and that’s my favorite thing to do,” she said of creating art. “I like to color, to paint, to draw.”

Lydia Hernandez said it was the first time she had brought her daughter to the festival and it was a good way to work in a trip to the park, which doesn’t happen too often for her family.

“She loves drawing. You should see my house; there’s papers everywhere,” Hernandez said. “I love (the festival). I wish there were more children. I don’t see that many, but it’s wonderful.”

Art ranged from illustrations of the Eiffel Tower and a green jay to a message of “I love Japon” with a green field and purple sky in the background, to a work of multicolored flowers with a slogan reading “For a world of peace.”

Organizers said they sold 104 spaces at $10 each for the competition. Of those, 68 were allotted to children.

Mandy Jo Euresti, executive director of the Children’s Museum of Brownsville, said more youth participants attended than last year.

“It’s a family event,” she said. “We try to get the kids to come outdoors and enjoy the day and to know about the arts and culture in our community. We are in the Mitte Cultural District and so we’re around museums and the wonderful area around here.”

There were snacks for sale, face painting and two vendors, while kid-friendly music blasted from a boom box and a clown made balloon animals.

Euresti said organizers would try to bring more vendors to next year’s event.

In the competition, Carmen Parga took first place in the adult class and won $250.

Her piece featured a large portrait of a young girl in hues of pink and sea-foam green, with her skin glowing from the sun.

Parga, 21, is a teacher at a visual arts school in Matamoros and many of her students were at the event, so she decided to participate, she said.

“It’s important,” she said of the festival. “Kids are always on the computer or watching TV and all that. I love to see them drawing and (using) their imagination.”


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