Sackville Street Chalk Art Fes­ti­val on tap this sum­mer

Town re­ceives fed­eral fund­ing for event to help mark Canada 150


The streets will come alive like never be­fore as a brand new fes­ti­val comes to town this sum­mer.

Sackville will be host­ing its first-ever street chalk art fes­ti­val in Au­gust, an event that will bring in renowned artists and also fea­ture mu­si­cal en­ter­tain­ment, work­shops, chil­dren’s ac­tiv­i­ties and more.

The two-day event, slated for Aug. 25-26, is be­lieved to be the first of its kind in At­lantic Canada, said the fes­ti­val’s co­or­di­na­tor Emma Hoch.

An­tic­i­pated to draw in artists who will turn the down­town side­walks and streets into can­vases of color and one-of-a-kind works of art, the arts cel­e­bra­tion is be­ing funded through a fed­eral Canada 150 grant.

Matt Pryde, man­ager of Sackvile’s recre­ation pro­grams and spe­cial events, said the idea to host such a fes­ti­val was sparked by dis­cus­sions amongst a com­mit­tee of town man­age­ment staff, lo­cal busi­ness own­ers and Mount Al­li­son Univer­sity rep­re­sen­ta­tives who had been meet­ing to talk about how to at­tract more peo­ple to Sackville. Pryde said the group was “just throw­ing ideas around” when talk of a sim­i­lar street chalk fes­ti­val in Vic­to­ria, B.C. came up.

“We thought it might be some­thing that would be fun, some­thing unique,” he said, adding that he then got in touch with fes­ti­val or­ga­niz­ers there to de­ter­mine the lo­gis­tics of host­ing such an event.

Pryde said his depart­ment ap­plied for a fed­eral grant to host the fes­ti­val, ty­ing it in with Canada’s 150th an­niver­sary cel­e­bra­tions (where the artists must cre­ate work that rep­re­sents Canada). The town was suc­cess­ful in re­ceiv­ing $23,000 to host the event, with some of that fund­ing go­ing to­ward hir­ing a co­or­di­na­tor.

Hoch said she plans to take a his­tor­i­cal ap­proach to the fes­ti­val, re­lat­ing it to the tra­di­tional street paint­ing fes­ti­vals that have been traced back to Italy in the 16th cen­tury, where the Madon­nari (so named be­cause they would recre­ate im­ages of the Madonna), many of them trav­el­ing artists who had been brought into the cities to work on the cathe­drals, would cre­ate im­ages on the streets when the work was done as another way to make a liv­ing.

Hoch said the hope is to bring in sev­eral street painters for the fes­ti­val, and has al­ready booked Nova Sco­tia’s David John­ston, aka Chalk­mas­ter Dave. Chalk­mas­ter Dave, who trav­els across the coun­try draw­ing three­d­i­men­sional side­walk chalk art pieces at fes­ti­vals and for cor­po­rate clients, will be a fa­mil­iar face to Sackvil­lians, as he was com­mis­sioned by the town last year to cre­ate art­work for the Sackville Fall Fair. The “ter­ri­fy­ing pit of doom” was a pop­u­lar draw for peo­ple of all ages, and Hoch ex­pects his up­com­ing work to be just as fun and in­ter­ac­tive.

Called the Sackville Street Chalk Art Fes­ti­val: Cel­e­brat­ing 150+ Years, the fam­ily-friendly event will also fea­ture live mu­sic fo­cused on Canada’s early cul­tures, as well as kids work­shops and ac­tiv­i­ties based on chalk draw­ing.

“It’s a great time of year to do an end-of-sum­mer cel­e­bra­tion and draw peo­ple into our down­town,” said Pryde.


Emma Hoch, the co-or­di­na­tor for this sum­mer’s Sackville Street Chalk Art Fes­ti­val, stands in the “ter­ri­fy­ing pit of doom” cre­ated last fall on Bridge Street by street artist David John­ston. John­ston, also known as Chalk­mas­ter Dave, will be re­turn­ing to Sackville as part of this year’s fes­ti­val.

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