13th Annual Chalk Art Festival goes Pop

The once-empty concrete pavements and sidewalks of downtown Pomona are now temporarily filled with a vast variety of bright colors and animated characters. Artists, Pomona locals and students have transformed the plaza into a now beautiful sidewalk gallery. 

On Nov. 9, the City of Pomona’s Cultural Arts Commission hosted their 13th Annual Chalk Art Festival in Shaun Diamond Plaza. The event is free and open to the public. 

This year’s theme was Pop Art or open category. 

Students from Pomona Unified School District, City of Knowledge School, Pomona Catholic, School of Arts & Enterprise, Cal Poly Pomona and more were invited to take part in their community’s event. No skills or prior art experience were required to participate in this event.

To participate in the Chalk Art Festival, participants had to register online a week prior to the event at no cost. Once the participants have registered, a square would be reserved for them. On the day of the event, they were provided with a free chalk set. 

Pomona’s middle and high school students, families and professionals came as early as 7:30 a.m. to start sketching and planning their murals. 

Students were huddled around the squares in groups working together to create the perfect art piece. Families set up picnic blankets and chairs to watch and support their kids.  

Professional artists were only allowed to work individually.

“They don’t really care about winning, the students just come for the spirit and to spend time together,” said Rowena Buchan, a Pomona resident.

The Shaun Diamond Plaza is now transformed into a beautiful gallery featuring the works of Pomona locals, students and artists.

The City of Pomona’s Cultural Arts Commission strives to make this event not only for the competition, but for the gathering of families and residents of Pomona. Lively music was playing to keep the energy high and spirit up, while the participants worked continuously. They also had a raffle going on throughout the event to keep the guests engaged and entertained. 

The City of Pomona Water Resources tabled at the event to provide water stations for the participants. Mi Cafecito, the café across the street from Shaun Diamond Plaza, partnered with the event to provide guests with the option of coffee as well. 

The participants designed and colored in their space for hours in the heat until the end mark of 1:30 p.m. By 2 p.m., the judges started to walk around and vote on their favorite pieces. The winners for each category received cash prizes.

Many of the participants that came out last Saturday have been coming for years now.

“I’ve been doing this since I was in middle school … (in) seventh grade, and now every year I come back,” said Julie Krisfield, Cal Poly Pomona student. “I always try and bring more of my friends (to the Chalk Art Festival) out with me.”

Every year, the Pomona residents look forward to this event and encourage more people to show off their artistic skills.

For more information on next year’s event, updates are posted on Instagram @downtownpomona. 

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