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Saturday celebration highlights the arts in Longmont in chalk

Saturday’s Longmont Main Street Chalk Festival was a part of a revamped Longmont ArtWalk Summer on the Streets series put on by the Firehouse Art Center. Instead of a giant event that shuts down vehicle traffic in the heart of downtown, smaller celebrations were scheduled on the sidewalks this year.
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Betsy Anderson of Longmont works on chalk art of a bird caught in a wire at the Longmont Main Street Chalk Art Festival on Saturday. (Photo by Matt Hagerman)

It was sunny and hot on Main Street on Saturday while the music of Pair of Three accompanied chalk artists bent over on the sidewalks. Artisan booths were set up on both sides of the street, although they were more spaced out than in years past to accommodate the mostly masked patrons.

The undeniably strange feeling of life during a pandemic seemed to come out in various chalk art. Betsy Anderson and Bradley Books each drew eyes overlooking a troubled scene. Others evoked sadness or resiliency and even Jon Fukuma’s fish seemed to be keeping their distance from each other.

2020_09_05_LL-chalk_art_fest2Jon Fukuda begins working on his chalk art piece on Main Street on Saturday. (Photo by Matt Hagerman)

Saturday’s Longmont Main Street Chalk Festival was a part of a revamped Longmont ArtWalk Summer on the Streets series put on by the Firehouse Art Center. Instead of a giant event that shuts down vehicle traffic in the heart of downtown, smaller celebrations were scheduled on the sidewalks this year. The final event with an art market and music is scheduled for Saturday.

“You feel the hospitality of Longmont, in general, with all that’s going on,” Books said after finishing his chalk art piece. “Just the appreciation for being out here doing something. Everyone’s been kind and respectful.” 

Elaine Waterman coordinated this and other events this summer. She has had to improvise a lot since taking over as executive director of the Firehouse Art Center in February. 

2020_09_05_LL-chalk_art_fest1Julie Tu puts the final touches on her piece at the Longmont Main Street Chalk Art Festival on Saturday. (Photo by Matt Hagerman)

“Our festivals were two times a year,” Waterman said. “We can’t do it the way that we usually do it, so we’ve broken it up into tiny little pieces. We’ve been going from July 11 to Sept. 12 and we wanted to do some special things. I am just super excited to see people coming out and supporting downtown businesses and experiencing everything the artists have to offer.

“Obviously, it’s a very strange year, but to see this amount of people out and wearing masks and being responsible; at least partaking in Artwalk Summer on the Streets makes us really happy. It’s been a whole season of canceled festivals and canceled concerts and performances. As far as an artist that does do festivals, it’s been really difficult. So we just wanted to bring more beauty and light into the world.”

Musicians on Saturday included Synergistic Effects, Yuppie Wagon, Carrie Chambliss, Jeff Ulrich, a bluegrass jam session and a harpist.

The ladies of Pair of Three could have easily been mistaken for the Indigo Girls as they covered their masterpiece, “Closer To Fine.” They did their best to offer hope to passers-by because, “darkness has a hunger that's insatiable and lightness has a call that's hard to hear.”
2020_09_05_LL-chalk_art_festival4A work by Bradley Books at the Longmont Main Street Chalk Art Festival on Saturday. (Photo by Matt Hagerman)



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