Chalk art tradition continues at the Bellevue arts festivals

The artist’s face is pensive as she studies a Picasso on a print out. Her fingers, caked in color, slide across the concrete. With each stroke of chalk, she transfers his brilliant colors to the sidewalk outside the Bellevue Arts Museum.

Street painter and chalk artist Gabrielle Abbott works on a piece outside the Bellevue Arts Museum during its annual ARTSfair July 28.

The artist’s face is pensive as she studies a Picasso on a print out.  Her fingers, caked in color, slide across the concrete. With each stroke of chalk, she transfers his brilliant colors to the sidewalk outside the Bellevue Arts Museum.

While hundreds pass Gabrielle Abbott by the hour, none are more fascinated than the children, who often try to join the game.

“I think it makes fine art accessible to everyone,” Abbott says.

To complete the experience, a bucket of chalk greeted families just a few feet away. Sixth Street belonged to their creativity through the ARTSfair July 27-28.

While chalk art, or street painting, dates back to the Renaissance, there are only two known street painters in Northwest. Abbott was invited to Bellevue for the first time this year, when long-standing fair artist, Brian Major, made another commitment.

She first encountered the art form in Florence, Italy, where she studied classical art for three years. She joined a guild and gave it a try.

Although she cried when she had to leave her first painting, she’s grown fond of the idea that beauty is temporary. Street painting is her form of a Buddhist Mandala.

When she arrived home at Seattle, she decided to test the city. She set up camp at the Westlake Center park.

“I just wanted to see how it’d go over,” she said.

As expected, a police officer told her she really wasn’t allowed to paint the street in chalk, but it was so cool he wasn’t going to stop her. He did, however, ask her to call the park manager and ask for a commission.

She’s returned each year since, now paid for her work.

Unlike the pastel colors of sidewalk chalk, she uses artist chalk and powdered pigment mixed with water, which can be applied with a brush.

“It’s not fussy or refined,” she said. “It’s very tactile.”

Gabrielle Abbott works on a chalk art piece at the Bellevue Arts Museum’s ARTSfair July 28. She reproduced a painting by Picasso.

 


In consideration of how we voice our opinions in the modern world, we’ve closed comments on our websites. We value the opinions of our readers and we encourage you to keep the conversation going.

Please feel free to share your story tips by emailing editor@bellevuereporter.com.

To share your opinion for publication, submit a letter through our website https://www.bellevuereporter.com/submit-letter/. Include your name, address and daytime phone number. (We’ll only publish your name and hometown.) We reserve the right to edit letters, but if you keep yours to 300 words or less, we won’t ask you to shorten it.

More in Life

Local musicians hold virtual benefit concert for mental health

The stream-a-thon supports NAMI Eastside and nonprofit Hold Your Crown

Medic One Foundation’s Gratitude Meals offer support to first responders, local businesses

The initiative provides hearty lunches to first responders staffing the COVID-19 testing sites as they work to test their colleagues.

UW students create Spira app to gather COVID-19 data

The app was created to screen for respiratory diseases but the teen creators shifted their focus once the COVID-19 outbreak began.

‘Don’t assume it can’t happen to you’

Federal Way resident Evelyn Allcorn shares story of her husband’s battle with COVID-19 after he tested positive on March 28.

Meet The Bored Baker of Bellevue

Youth keeps busy with blog during down time from school closures.

Savannah Lynn and Will Chadek in the Second Story Repertory of Redmond’s production of “The Fantasticks.” “The Fantasticks” had been performed three times by the organization until coronavirus concerns resulted in the cancellation of the remaining dates. Photo by Michael Brunk
How is the coronavirus affecting the arts?

Representatives from Eastside arts institutions discuss their experiences.

Bellevue School District (BSD) staffer Lori Schrader Hanson assisting food-service efforts Monday, March 16. Photo courtesy BSD
Bellevue students receiving community support

Many local organizations have reached out to the Bellevue School District to see what they can do.

Photo courtesy city of Bellevue
                                A recent Well-K.E.P.T. crew. Groups of 10 interns between 14 and 18 years old are typically supported by two supervisors.
Bellevue Parks discusses Well-K.E.P.T. program’s accomplishments

The youth-centric environmental program has been running in Bellevue since 1987.

KCLS: Much to celebrate from 2019 and in the year ahead

A column from the King County Library System.

Neighborhood Enhancement Program comes to Crossroads

A “kickoff” meeting was held on Jan. 22.

Centro Cultural Mexicano exhibit opens doors to discussions on immigration, border issues

“Border Doors” features art by students who have visited the United States-Mexico border.