BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KGET) – Via Arte – the Italian street painting exhibition – kicked off Saturday morning. Local artists came here to turn pavement into chalk masterpieces. The Bakersfield Museum of Art is hosting their annual street painting at the marketplace this weekend. Artists came from all over the state to participate and spend hours on the hot pavement at their designated square. Most of the artists come back every year.
“I’ve done it 6-7 years by myself,” said Emily Loyd, a chalk artist. “Then I did it two years with my dad and my dad did it 10 years before that. So it’s a family tradition.”
Another artist- Jason Henderson has participated for the past nine years. He usually does marvel characters – but this year, he wanted to do something different.
“I chose the Kobe Bryant piece this year because he was such a big hero for me growing up,” Henderson said. “It was such a tragic event that happened earlier this year. I wanted to pay my respects to him by doing a piece of artwork of him.”
There were plenty of chalk tributes to other legends who died this year – including Ruth Bader Ginsberg and Chadwick Boseman.
Executive Director Amy Smith says she’s been coming since the exhibit started 22 years ago.
“This is an institution, it’s something that the people in bakersfield look forward to every single year,” Smith said. “It’s always been here at the marketplace, we live nearby. So my children have grown up coming to this event. When I got the chance to run the museum I was super excited because this is something I want to continue to do for this community.”
Artists apply in advance. Each sends in three photos of what they want to draw and a team from the museum works with the artist to select one.
“I chose this one because I wanted to challenge myself with the color scheme this year of blues,” Loyd said. “Previous years I did a lot of reds yellows and giant flowers. This year I wanted to do a lot more blues and it’s a lot more ocean based.”
This year’s exhibit is slightly modified. The artists are all limited to a 7 by 7 square to maintain social distancing. The exhibit will be at the marketplace today and tomorrow from 9am to 8pm. You can stop by and vote on your favorite piece. They’re accepting votes until 9pm tomorrow night.