Art Afoot at West Bend's Art and Chalk Fest | Midwest Living

Art Afoot at West Bend's Art and Chalk Fest

Walk and talk chalk at this open-air gallery in West Bend, Wisconsin.

Photograph Courtesy of Museum of Wisconsin Art

Photograph Courtesy of Museum of Wisconsin Art

Watch your step during the Art & Chalk Fest in West Bend, Wisconsin, or you might smudge a rooster plume or zigzag over a zebra.

In its second year, the event transforms the Museum of Wisconsin Art’s campus into a concrete canvas for scenes in sky blues, salmon reds and emerald greens. Nearly 20 artists will use soft pastel chalk to sketch their way through this year’s festival July 28–29, chatting with onlookers as they go.

The atmosphere is as comfortable as a small-town holiday with picnic tables, cold beer and burgers on the grill. Live music floats in the air, and activities let little ones create their own chalk art or dig into craft projects.

Last year’s premier event drew more than 10,000 people to the museum’s campus less than an hour north of Milwaukee, but there was still elbow room to see the chalk creations and shop a juried fine arts show.

Things to Know Before You Go

  1. Each Day is Different Stop in on Saturday to watch the artists begin their work, plumes of dust billowing over their drawings as they blend colors with their fingertips. Go on Sunday to see completed chalk art scenes and vote for your favorite.
  2. It's Free!  There’s no charge to visit the festival or to escape the heat inside the sleek, contemporary museum. Now on display: 38 Trek bicycles, including a psychedelic Grateful Dead-inspired mountain bike made for biking legend Gary Fisher.
  3. Go Rain or Shine Don’t bail if the weather’s iffy. Participating artists use open-sided tents to keep this show on the road.

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