First Chalk Fest to be held next Saturday

Published 11:40 am Thursday, September 14, 2023

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Community art will fill the sidewalks throughout Maple, York Street and Chestnut streets during Jessamine County’s first-ever Chalk Fest next Saturday, Sept. 23.

From 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., community members are invited to Performance Park on Main Street to enjoy artisan booths, music, a food truck and an opportunity for creativity. Upon arrival, individuals should sign in to borrow free chalk to decorate a sidewalk square however their creative heart desires. The event is free to the public. There will also be wipes and hand-washing stations for chalky hands and porta-potties.

Visit Jessamine, Nicholasville-Jessamine County Parks and Recreation, and the Jessamine County Arts are holding this event.

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This chalk fest aims to kick off artist Anat Ronen’s time in the county.

At the beginning of the year, Charla Reed, the executive director of Visit Jessamine, pitched the idea of hiring an artist to install 3-D paintings around the city to bring more intrigue and creativity to Main Street.

The commission approved this idea, and Reed hired the Texas-based Ronen to install three paintings around the city: one on the side of Nicholasville Cafe, one in Performance park, and one on the wall of the circuit court complex next to the Jessamine County Courthouse.

Ronen will be doing some of her own sidewalk-chalk creations at the festival, talking about her process as she creates it before starting her three paintings the week following the event.

“She’s done installations for the Houston Zoo, she’s done it for NASA, just things all over the world,” Reed said.”We’re really excited. It’s like the home mural over here. It’s added to our community and has elements of all the different things throughout the County. So it’s really exciting to be able to highlight some new, fresh things for our community as a whole. It’s exciting for me personally, but it’s also exciting because I think we have so much to offer. This is just one thing, but this will add to our tourism, and hopefully, we can add more in the future.” Reed said.

An art walk with even more pieces in the future is another idea Reed has.

“We just want people to have a fun, relaxing, cool, different, unique experience,” she said.

Reed also encourages anyone to attend “Love, Broadway,” which is a benefit concert organized by Jessamine County Arts and Jessamine County Public Schools later that evening.

The concert will start at 7:30 p.m. at the MoonDance Amphitheater at 1152 Monarch Street in Lexington.

Adam Jacobs (Aladdin, Les Miserables, The Lion King), Erika Henningson (Mean Girls, Les Miserables, Girls5Eva), and Krystina Alabado (Mean Girls, American Idiot, Disney+ Better Nate than Never) will be bringing a slice of Broadway to the Bluegrass State.

“Love, Broadway” is under the direction of Austin Vahle along with Jessamine County Arts’ Amy Harrod and will end with a featured ensemble including local talent and JCS students and alums, Kelli Jo Summers, Lauranne Rose, Danielle Hendrix, Halle Hunter, Jackson Greene, Jackson Becker, Bryce Osborne and Myles Radford.

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Proceeds from the event will go towards providing performance and coaching opportunities for local artists and to support arts programming in Jessamine County Schools.