BY: ASHLEY RYAN
The phenomenon of chalk art is taking the country by storm. From coast to coast, contests to determine the best chalk artists have been growing in popularity. Large-scale 3-D chalk drawings give onlookers the illusion that they can leap right into the artwork. Justin Rudd, an activist in the Long Beach community, plans to bring one of these contests to Belmont Shore this October for the 9th year in a row. Rudd created an organization dedicated to enriching the local community and has hosted more than 60 events in the Long Beach area, such as the Bulldog Beauty Contest and the 30-Minute Beach Cleanup. Rudd’s lifelong interest in art compelled him to create the Belmont Shore Sidewalk Chalk Art Contest.
“I like public expressions of art,” Rudd said. “My mom is an artist so I grew up appreciating art.”
According to Rudd, the contest showcases the work of nearly 70 artists each year, some traveling from as far as Santa Barbara or San Diego to participate. As there are no categories or groups, professional artists compete alongside those that are still developing their skills.
“We get older high schoolers, college students and adults,” Rudd said. “Many are professional artists and travel the world doing chalking events.”
The artists do not draw directly on the sidewalk and are provided with Lenox artist’s paper and ten pieces of non-toxic chalk in a variety of colors. In addition to the competition, there will be local art on display within the shops on Second Street and art-related activities for families to enjoy, including face painting and arts and crafts.
The first year of the contest featured a theme, dogs, but it has since been left up to the contestants to decide what to draw.
“We don’t have themes so that people can draw their favorites,” Rudd said.
Long Beach resident David Gilmore competed last October in the contest, and received an honorable mention for his submission.
“I’ve worked with pastels before but hadn’t used chalk on a large drawing so I thought it would be fun,” Gilmore said. “I have a style of drawing that’s very caricature-driven and a bit over the top.”
Artists will draw from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 20, and cash prizes totaling $1,000 will be awarded to the winner.