Cam Briones crafted a chalk art piece of dolphins at last year’s Berkley Street Art Fest.

Cam Briones crafted a chalk art piece of dolphins at last year’s Berkley Street Art Fest.

File photo by Patricia O’Blenes

Street Art Fest to brighten Berkley roads once again

By: Mike Koury | Woodward Talk | Published July 2, 2024


BERKLEY — The colorful nature of the Berkley Street Art Fest will make its return this month.

The Berkley Street Art Fest will take place 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday, July 13, on Coolidge Highway between Catalpa Drive and Beverly Boulevard.

The highlight of the festival, as always, is its big chalk art contest on the streets of Berkley, where contestants are tasked to draw colorful art.

“It’s one of the best street art communities for both permanent and temporary art in the Detroit area, I would say,” said artist David Zinn, who will be helping judge the contest and making chalk art himself.

Zinn also will be taking time during the event to speak with attendees at 1 p.m. about the art he does and to encourage others to take part in making chalk art.

“One of the things we did early on, originally, when I was first coming to the Berkley Street Art festival, was to set up to do an actual sort of presentation that explains the very few techniques that there are worth knowing about making chalk art and also the philosophy behind it,” he said. “Why the fact that it washes away in the rain isn’t actually as sad as people think, and can actually be used as a lot of the inspiration for it, and the concepts of pareidolia and other interesting ways to make your art look like it’s part of the real environment. I’m looking forward to it.”

Berkley Area Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Darlene Rothman added that the Culinary Arts Corridor, which has vendors with prepackaged foods, will be back this year, as well as a kids zone and a tent with dogs up for adoption.

Rothman said this year they’re looking to encourage attendees to visit the event with their dogs.

“We’re always attracting people with families … and a lot of people do come with their dogs,” she said. “At (Berkley) Art Bash (in June), I’m just looking around, there’s so many more people that bring their dogs to street events like this. And this is kind of a strolling kind of situation, so it lends itself to that.”

The artist check-in for the chalk art contest will be between 8 and 10 a.m. The judging will take place from 3 to 4 p.m., and the awards for the contest will be presented at 4:45 p.m. The registration for a team up to four costs $30, and the cost is $25 for adults and $15 for youths ages 12-17.

“Chalk art is an art form,” Rothman said. “It’s not just a cute thing to do; it is an art form, but anything that is your expression of art is important to follow if you have that interest.”

Zinn said he’s seen some remarkable ideas brought to life in the street in past chalk art contests with the use of crosswalks and other public spaces. He’s also been impressed with how determined and versatile the artists can be when making their pieces.

“Last year we had quite the bout of rain, and it did not scare people away,” he said. “It was good to see people that understand that this isn’t just about being outside on a nice day. It’s about making a day nice.”

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