Hundreds gather for Wausau Chalkfest


WAUSAU, Wis. (WSAW) – This year saw the 18th annual Chalkfest Wausau art event, and approximately 400 custom works of art lined the streets of downtown Wausau, which is 400 blocks long.

The 400 block sidewalks have been transformed into an art museum for Chalkfest.

“There’s a whole sense of community here. I love how it brings people together,” said Miranda Orlikowski, a chalk artist.

This is Miranda Orlikowski’s 13th year at Chalkfest Wausau. She has been the featured artist of the festival for 4 years.

“This year is my first original piece that I have done. All of my other pieces have been pop culture inspired and movie themed recreations of the work of other credited artists. But this one was a mix of a bunch of different artist styles and then I just put it together,” Orlikowski said.

This year’s artwork took Orlikowski about 32 hours. She said the inspiration for her artwork came from things she loves to do.

“I specialize in portraiture and I also like to draw horses,” Orlikowski said.

Chalk artists use many different techniques, such as smudging, to create their masterpieces. Orlikowski said she prepared her piece with line work before filling in the design with color.

“I use both dry chalk and water. So I’m going to lay down a base coat and I’m going to smudge it and then I’m going to spray it with water to kind of seal it to the concrete,” Orlikowski said.

Time can wash away art over time, but Orlikowski said his technique keeps his art in place longer.

“Spraying it with water keeps it longer, so getting the chalk wet turns it into a kind of paint,” Orlikowski said.

She said that as long as the rain doesn’t wash away the chalk, the art should last a week to 2 weeks. There were 10 artists who won an honorable mention for their works. The top 5 Chalkfest winners received chalk-shaped trophies.

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