Beauty in the Community – The Tampa Bay Chalk Festival

PDAP’s 2nd Tampa Bay Chalk Festival
and The Beautify Project

May 4 from 9 am-4 pm
The Deuces, St Pete
Details here

Pinellas Diaspora Arts Project (PDAP) is hosting the second annual Tampa Bay Chalk Festival on Saturday, May 4 from 9 am to 4 pm – and once again the sidewalks of 22nd Street South between 7th Avenue South and 9th Avenue South on St. Petersburg’s historic Deuces will be transformed, as 20 local visual artists create vibrant squares with chalk and washable mediums.

This year’s theme is “PROTECTING OUR ENVIRONMENT: Sustaining our Future” – and follows a growing movement of local South St Pete conversations on the community’s environment.

Artists at the inaugural Tampa Bay Chalk Festival in the Deuces – photo courtesy of PDAP social media

The Chalk Festival is happening right behind recent reporting that the Childs Park Neighborhood Campaign, “Smell Something, Say Something” has finally resulted in EPA action, after years of suspicious smells and advocating for further investigation.

The Chalk Festival is being supported by the local Sierra Club and the Tampa Bay Estuary Program, two longtime environmental action groups.

Award-winning visual artist, filmmaker and educator Debbie Yati Garrett, organizer of the Tampa Bay Chalk Festival, received a Creative Pinellas Beyond Placemaking grant to support the event. This Beyond Placemaking project was produced with the support of the National Endowment for the Arts, Creative Pinellas, the Pinellas County Board of County Commissioners and the State of Florida.

Garrett states that the rich artistic history of the Deuces makes it the perfect location for the Chalk Art Festival. “This is an opportunity to bring together the community of artists, recreation centers, youth providers, and businesses, in addition to showcasing professional artists’ chalk work from near and far.

“And most importantly to give our children a day of art expression using chalk and art while having fun,” Garrett shares.

The PDAP teaching artist also says this free annual outdoor exhibit “aims to bring the community, tourists, businesses and art district together to revitalize and elevate the Tampa Bay Area, Deuces Live Corridor, and local artist and vendor market through economic impact.”

Local businesses including Lorene’s Fish&Crab House, Heavy’s Restaurant, Rastaman Natural Juices and Urban Drinkery will be open to accommodate visitors.

Additionally, PDAP will kick off The Beautify Project with a rock painting clinic at Urban Drinkery that day.

The Beautify Project is a community arts initiative encouraging residents to come out and help bring artistic vision and inspiration to our local establishments. Urban Drinkery was selected as a perfect spot to the kickoff the project not only because of proprietor Shundra Allison’s delicious and artful presentations – but because of its importance as a local hub for art, music, conversation and community activism.

PDAP, which was formed in 2021, chose Urban as one of its earliest locations in the community to hold events, and has hosted movie nights, a “Kendrick Lamar Listening & Responding” evening (under the banner of PDAP’s The Audio Project) and has presented a number of other offerings there during its annual Tampa Bay Afrofuturism Festival.

Allison notes, “I think it’s great, because there’s always room for improvement in an establishment, and to get people to help is a plus. I think it’s important to keep something beautiful, to add some flare,” the newly elected president of Deuces Live Main Street acknowledges.

She also refrains from giving visiting community members and rock painters specific motifs, saying, “I prefer people to create what they feel instead of me directing what it should look like. This is your rock, that you decided to pick up and do,” she laughs, noting she prefers people create from their own unique ideas.

The 2nd Tampa Bay Chalk Festival is free and will be held on May 4 from 9 am to 4 pm, and will offer facepainting by Paint ME Fancy LLC, refreshments, community presentations, art engagements via the Dalí Museum, and DJ David Ranger, “DJ Supa Dave” of 99.1 FM, will be playing family-friendly music all day in Deuces Corner Park.

Community partners include the Deuces Live Main Street, Keep Pinellas Beautiful, Pace Center for Girls, Pinellas County Solid Waste Services, the St. Petersburg Library, League of Women Voters, and DJ Queen B from 95.7 FM the Beat iHeart Radio.

Wellness screenings will be provided by Faith Community Nursing of Baycare/St. Anthony’s Hospital. A video team from DreamMakerz Productions will be documenting the day’s events, and events will be hosted by PDAP board member Charli Funk.

Vendors include Totally Green, The Peace Workout, Moonlit Creations, NAMI, Tracy Jones Artist, Costa Flora, Uniquely Original Art Studio, The Merry Meerkats Go!, It’s a Heart Thang and Elijah Lee LLC.

Families can register for this free event here – Family Registration – Tampa Bay Chalk Festival

Volunteers can apply here – Volunteer Sign Up – Tampa Bay Chalk Festival

Pinellas Diaspora Arts Project, Inc. is a registered 501c3 organization, with a mission to support, encourage, and promote BIPOC Arts and Artists in Tampa Bay while providing family engagements with a focus on health and wellness.

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