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'Chalk the Block' hits the streets of downtown El Paso

Chalk the Block

EL PASO, Texas - The 12th annual Chalk the Block Public Art Festival takes place this weekend in downtown El Paso.  

Every year, the family-friendly event brings more than 45,000 people to downtown to enjoy a sidewalk chalk art competition, temporary art installations, street performances, live music stage, local art and food vendors, free art activities at the El Paso Museums of Art and History, a kids zone and more. 

"It takes about 10 to 11 months to be able to fully plan this event, to be able to book our artists from around the world, and to get all the logistics together," said Ben Fyffe, assistant director with MCAD. 

In 2018, 45,000 people attended the event. MCAD said they are expected to surpass that number by 2,000 to 3,000 more attendees. 

This year will be a bit more meaning for artists and organizers, as Fyffe said this event will be one of the largest events since the tragic Walmart shooting on August 3. 

"We know that events like these are really important for the community to be able to come together to heal to really allow for life to go on and to celebrate what's great about living here" Fyffe said. 

"There's going to be a lot of chalk art that actually reflects those events and celebrates the strength and resiliency."

MCAD will also be working more diligently with the El Paso police and fire departments, as safety is their number one priority. 

Event goers can expect interactive art installations like "Los Trompos" which were made by artists from Mexico City that allows people to sit and spin in colorful pieces inspired by spinning tops, as well as decorative pianos painted by local artists for people stop by and play a few tunes on. 

They can also expect live music, dance and theatrical performances. 

Of course, attendees can enjoy the sidewalk chalk art competition, which is a fan favorite, and even get a chance to create a masterpiece out of chalk in front of San Jacinto Plaza 

The festival creates a significant economic impact with a projected $1.2 million pumped into the local economy during the weekend.  

Here's a look at the festival schedule:

  • Friday, 6 p.m. – 10 p.m. - Visitors can see Showcase Chalk Artists get a head start on their masterpieces and preview some of the large installations. Visit Food Truck Lane throughout the weekend to sample treats from various food trucks.  
  • Saturday, 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. - Events and activities include the GECU Kids Zone, live music and activities. Please note, the Downtown Art and Farmer's Market will be closed during Chalk the Block, but some of the market vendors will be at Chalk the Block.  
  • Sunday, 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. - GECU Kids Zone, music and art activities.  

In addition, the El Paso Museum of Art and the El Paso Museum of History will be open until 9 p.m. Friday and Saturday nights during the festival with special events. Visitors can explore the museums and participate in family-friendly activities.

For more information about Chalk the Block, call 915-212-0110 or visit www.chalktheblock.com. A complete event guide is also available at www.visitelpaso.com


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