Location: Easton Town Center, 160 Easton Town Center, Columbus, OH 43219
Sidebar: In order to shorten this article, I posted the interviews with William Zyman, Megan Justice, Allina Molinaro, Dane Khy and Rob Mounier. Click on their names to go to those articles.
Interview with Adam Brouillette:
Are you the founder of Chalk the Block?
I am the manager. I created and helped organize the event. I select all the artists. I lay out all the stuff. I book all the music. I organize everything.
When this was just a thought in your mind, how did you come up with the idea? Talk about the journey and the process of eleven years of Chalk the Block.
It is not a totally original idea. Chalk drawing festivals happen all over the country. I was originally part of an organizing team that worked on an event called Via Colori. It was originally on 670 before it opened, moved to Goodale Park, then to the North Market. When that ended, there was a need for chalk drawing to show up somewhere in Columbus. At the time, I started working with Easton. I presented the idea to them. The first year we had about 20 artists, a small stage with three bands. It was a little one-day event. We have now grown to over forty artists, many from out of state, six bands, two different stages. Obviously today, with the weather, put a little damper on that. It has grown pretty significantly. We are going to just keep doing what we have been doing.
Sidebar: It was a cloudy day with off and on drizzle. I was surprised the artists were able to complete as much as they completed.
Is there anything that I didn’t ask you that you think I should have asked you? If so, go ahead and answer that question.
Every year, we have more applicants than space for artists. We are always trying to grow the event. This year, we had ninety-six applicants for forty spaces. Every year, I try to select about seventy percent of people who have done it before and thirty percent of people that are new. This year, we have people from seven different states. Some as far away as Georgia, Chicago, Pennsylvania, Michigan, South Bend Indiana and Toledo. People are driving in from pretty far away to do this. Every year, it is that way. It is kind of exciting to get new artists every year that want to do it.
Sidebar: I love that this event gives a platform for artists to display chalk art for the first time.
I have only come on a Saturday afternoon. What usually goes on Sunday?
Everything stays on display. People usually come by and take pictures of things that are finished rather than people working in progress.
What happens to the cubes, do you spray them down and use them next year?
Yes. The art form is ephemeral (it is meant to go away). When people draw on the ground and it rains. The cubes get dismantled. We reuse them every year. It is a way to be economical, environmentally responsible. These cubes have been used for five years. Every year, I get a five-gallon bucket of paint, re black them and they come back out for the next year.
Are you planning to do more events like chalk the block at different locations?
We have done them offsite. We have done one in Mount Vernon, Ohio, a little while ago. It wasn’t as successful. I have done pieces and parts of this at other events. I run an art gallery and a studio downtown. Sometimes, we have chalk drawing events there. I will also partner with organizations. I am a muralist. I will run events that involve murals. Chalk is not my medium. I do it occasionally. Most often, I am painting murals. Those events have become pretty popular in Columbus. Those events have popped up where I organize artists. I run an event called Alley Islands which is a downtown street festival with pop up vendor, food trucks, stages and muralists.
My take on Chalk the Block 2022:
I love this event! I love interacting with the artists. My personal favorite pieces are the 3-dimensional chalk art pieces that are on the pavement. I think the 8’ chalk cubes pull people into the event. Previously, if a person wasn’t paying attention, they could walk right past the event and not realize it was going on. It amazes me the creativity on display. Eight or ten feet is a large area to cover with chalk vertically or horizontally. Although this event is scheduled until 6:00 pm, if you want to interact with the artists, I suggest you arrive about 3:30 pm.