Via Colori Colors Downtown With Chalk Artwork
Rainbow-colored chalk covered the closed-off streets of downtown Fredericksburg on Saturday and Sunday as both local and out of town artists from across the state participated in Via Colori, an annual event that attracts artists to create large-scale works of art on the pavement.
Smiling faces, vendors and bands surrounded each artist on Sep. 23 and 24 while they drew with chalk and paintbrushes on the ground. The Fredericksburg Museum and Cultural Center, the Free Lance-Star and Germana Community College sponsored artists for the event.
Students from the University of Mary Washington’s design principles class volunteered and worked collaboratively, two to three hour shifts each, on a piece that depicted Melcher’s Hall with Vincent Van Gogh’s “Starry Night” as the background.
Jon McMillan, assistant professor of ceramics, supervised the students’ creation, which took two days to complete.
“One of the reasons we ended up doing [the design] was to make the piece open-ended and creative,” McMillan said.
McMillan emphasized that since each design is impermanent, the process is more important than the finished product.
Michael Kessler, a senior and anthropology major, had the final shift for the piece. With his time, Kessler did a great deal of blending and added a couple of features to the building, such as red columns. To Kessler, the process was surprisingly rewarding and allowed him to appreciate others’ art along with his own.
“When we first heard it was going to include chalk on the street, we didn’t expect there to be such quality artwork there,” Kessler.
Niki Evans, a senior and studio art major, worked alone. She purposely chose a smaller square on the pavement so that she would have time to finish and interact more with the admirers. This year, her artwork, filled with eye-catching reds and limes, captured the energy of fall and harvesting.
“I wanted people to connect to their true nature, and when I think about people’s true nature I think of rainbows and hearts,” Evans said.
The crowd tiptoed around the squares, stopping momentarily to look at the newest designs added to each art piece. Although most artists came with a plan, or even a picture to sketch, KC Kellam came to Via Colori with only one goal: to have fun.
“I just draw. Someone told me I could doodle for free on the concrete so I signed up,” Kellam said.
Donavon Lyons, a UNC graduate, drew a family tree of love, depicting his wife and two children.
“I used to think I was the only artist… I gotta keep the family name going,” Lyons said.
According to the Free Lance-Star, proceeds from Via Colori will go to art education programs and the Community Health Center of the Rappahannock Region.