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3rd annual Omaha Chalk Art Festival covers Midtown in color

Published: Sep. 19, 2021 at 5:44 PM CDT
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OMAHA, Neb. (WOWT) - For the third year in a row, Omaha’s annual Chalk Art Festival has left Midtown Crossing covered in new life and color to be enjoyed by the community.

The festival kicked off Saturday at 8 a.m., as 26 artists from across the city took to their sidewalk canvas to share their creations and messages.

Omaha’s festival wouldn’t be possible without the help of Michael Rieger, an organizer of the Denver Chalk Art Festival, which is now in its 19th year and welcomes over 230 artists and 150,000 spectators.

“20 years ago we decided we wanted a new event in Denver, and chalk art was kind of new. There was a few festivals in the country, it was something new and exciting,” he says. “We looked at some of the events they had in California and said ‘yeah, we want to bring this to Denver,’ and we just slowly grew it.”

Now Rieger, also a professional artist, travels across the country helping cities get their chalk art events off the ground. Joining him is artist Randy Segura, and together, the men display their work to show communities what can be done with chalk.

In Omaha, Rieger acts as the artist director for those participating.

“It has definitely grown since the first year, we’re down a couple of artists from the second year, but a lot of events this year have been smaller,” Rieger says about the festival.

“There’s nothing like creating art with fellow artists out in the street, and that sense of community and it’s a fun thing to watch the art come alive.”

Amy Sreenivasam, a local artist and returning chalk art festival participant, couldn’t agree more.

“To get out into the world and to hear the wonderful comments that people have to say to you, it just makes your day and it makes you realize you want to go on and keep giving art and participating in events around the community, and the more events there are, the more I will participate,” Sreenivasam says. “It’s been fun!”

Sreenivasam says the high-quality chalk, which is then sealed with hairspray, should last about five to seven days on the ground, as long as there is no rain.

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