Artists to transform Cal Lutheran concrete

Chalk Festival draws top talent from throughout state

Participating artists include Sharyn Chan, who produced this piece.

(THOUSAND OAKS, Calif. – March 15, 2019) Some of California’s most talented sidewalk artists will transform flat concrete pathways across California Lutheran University into colorful masterpieces on April 1 and 2.

Professional artists participating in the Chalk Festival for April Fools will focus their creations on the theme of imagination, the same idea being explored during The Representational Art Conference that Cal Lutheran is presenting from March 31 through April 4 in Ventura. 

Artists Lori Escalera of Vista and Dawn Morrison Wagner of Thousand Oaks will teach chalk drawing to Cal Lutheran art students March 18 through 21. The students will then create their own works for the festival.  

Escalera, one of the festival’s headlining pavement artists, has made a 25-year career out of street painting and teaching others to produce chalk art. She has won awards for her street paintings throughout California, in multiple states and in Mexico and Canada. She coordinated a street-painting venue in Xi’an, China, before the 2008 Olympics. Escalera creates works in multiple styles including Madonnari classical artwork reproduction, which dates to 16th-century Italy, as well as trompe l’oeil and 3D anamorphosis, which make works seem to jump off the pavement. 

“I do not mind that the work is temporary. It seems to be part of its beauty,” Escalera said. “Life really isn’t about permanence anyway. Nothing is permanent or even static. Everything is constantly changing all the time.”

Wagner, who minored in art while earning degrees in physics and engineering, began street painting in 1988 at the I Madonnari festival in Santa Barbara and has since traveled the country winning awards and leading workshops. Her chalk art has also been used in commercial and promotional work. Wagner’s street art has evolved from reproductions of classic works to contemporary perspective pieces. 

In addition to Escalera, the headlining pavement artists are Ever Galvez, Lorelle Miller and Julie Kirk Purcell. Other participating artists are Ruth Villa of Simi Valley, Lori Antoinette, Sharyn Chan, Naomi Duben, Ann Hefferman, Gus Moran, Lynn Okimura, Lesley Perdomo and Anthony Rico.

The chalk art will cover sidewalks outside the Kwan Fong Gallery of Art and Culture, William Rolland Gallery of Fine Art and Ullman Commons and at the bottom of the stairs on Memorial Parkway. The public is welcome to watch the artists and view their creations.

Cal Lutheran’s Artists and Speakers Committee is presenting the free public event. For more information, contact Michael Pearce at 805-444-7716.