The Via Colori Houston Street Painting Festival Is Everything It’s Set To Be

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Houston’s two-day chalk art festival is back after a hiatus of more than two years, offering artists of all ages a casual interactive canvas in a downtown parking lot.

“Being able to talk to people is fantastic,” said Brenda Chapa, 27, a Houston-area artist participating in the Via Colori street painting festival downtown.

She had already received several compliments on the meticulously shaded pair of hands she worked on on Saturday for an article on spirituality. She enjoyed the interactive aspect of the event, which allowed others to appreciate her work – and to meet other artists as well.

“You have this connection with other people,” said Chapa, who specializes in canvases and murals.

For a suggested donation of $10, art lovers, families and curious passers-by can marvel Saturday and Sunday at the dozens of artists decorating nearly 90 designated concrete spaces in the parking lot of POST Houston, the building of 550,000 square feet on Franklin, formerly Barbara Jordan Post Office.

The family event features face painting, a coloring station with the Art Bus and Via Bambini where children can decorate their own art square. It also features live performances, a DJ, yoga, and artist talks, as well as booths from community partners including Houston Audubon.

Since its last event in fall 2019, Via Colori has returned to Houston in 2022 through a new partnership with the Institute for Spirituality and Health at Texas Medical Center, which will benefit from festival proceeds.

“Our definition of spirituality is really about connection,” said Stuart Nelson, vice president of the institute, “What is more connective than the arts and creativity and people’s ability to speak out ?”

Nelson said the festival fits well with the institute’s mission to celebrate the human spirit.

“To be in an inspiring space, on a beautiful day, in a city you love, with people also showing up to celebrate creativity,” Nelson said, “there’s something really powerful and magical about that. .”

The event has already raised hundreds of thousands of dollars for its former host organization, the Texas Hearing Institute (formerly the Center for Hearing and Speech). They stopped hosting the event after an organizational change, which included a merger with Texas Children’s Hospital.

Artists of all ages and skill levels participated, including an astute group of Houston-area doctors — psychiatrists, pediatricians, gastroenterologists and others — who joined forces to paint a square.

“It’s also a powerful way for us all to connect, because we’re from different parts of town, we’re all from different specialties, but it’s a commonality that we share and it’s really brought us together.” , said Vy Mui, 49.

Ophthalmologist Marlene Morales Tollett, 42, led the group’s artistic vision: a large eye with a reflection of the American continents.

“It’s been a crazy time in the world and something uplifting, something to give people a positive message, something to lift their spirits, because it’s just a tough time,” Tollett said.

This is the band’s first year at the festival – they said they can’t wait to come back next year.

Nearby, Via Colori veteran Lily Alonso said she first competed in Via Colori Houston in 2007, when she was a student at Sam Rayburn High School in Pasadena. Since then, she participates as an artist intermittently.

His painting this year features the iconic face of the moon from the 1902 French film, A Trip to the Moon. It’s the same image she used in her first year attending the event as a solo artist.

“I thought because (the festival) was starting from scratch with this new organization and I was looking forward to drawing it again anyway, I felt it was time to bring it back,” said Alonso.

Kelly Copley, 22, took her 2- and 3-year-olds outside on Saturday afternoon, who used chalk to draw on construction paper at a children’s stall.

“I just wanted them to see the art and have some ideas for when they go home and use their chalk and expose them to the art here,” said Copley, an early attendee who discovered the event on Facebook. .

Art students from local schools also participated in the event. Priscilla Contreras, 11, joined her classmates in fifth grade Felix Cook Jr. Elementary to create an abstract chalk mural of an artist with a paint palette.

Contreras said she is having a fun day because she can paint with her friends.

“You can relax and you don’t have to worry about anything,” she said.

Chalk art by Contreras and other artists will be on display until 5 p.m. on Sunday.

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