Tuitia Demozzi works on a massive piece of chalk art for the Sarasota Chalk Festival. COURTESY PHOTO.

Famed 3D chalk artist Kurt Wenner returns to Chalk Festival

Chalk Festival coming right up! It’s one of the most groundbreaking events of its kind, drawing local, national and international pavement artists to the Venice airport to collaborate, create and design. Nearly 250 artists will attend this year, including the renowned Kurt Wenner, who invented the 3D illustion art in the 1980s.

Google him. You don’t know his name, but you know his art. Probably from that one viral email chain about ten years back. It’s insane.

While some of Wenner’s past pieces have been enormous, this year’s collaborative artwork is smaller, 25 square feet, featuring 32 figures.

“This year’s theme is ‘Love and Peace,’ so the theme of the work is a kind of chess set that comes to life,” Wenner said. “The idea is that these pieces have fought for hundreds of years and never gotten a conclusion, so they’ve decided to give it up and make peace.”

Wenner said that when he invented the 3D artform, he had no idea it would “go viral” the way it has, and that the internet has completely changed how his art is viewed.

“It has since become an art movement,” Wenner said. “And the internet has shifted the emphasis from the actual piece and production to getting this final image which goes into social media. It’s become more interactive, enters people’s Facebook albums and family albums, spreads into other people’s lives — it’s nice. It’s like public art in a way.”

Attendees are encouraged to interact with the artists and the works, most of which will be finished by Sunday afternoon. Local and regional bands will perform from 10 a.m. – 6 p.m. There’s a chalk wall for impromptu scribbles from visitors, chalk weddings, real weddings, a 5k Fun Run included in the ticket, and a Love Luau on the beach (1600 Harbor Drive South, Venice) on Saturday evening for a bit more money.

There will also be a special Veteran’s Day observance honoring Pearl Harbor survivor John Seelie, 93, at 1 p.m on Monday. A special Pearl Harbor artwork will be unveiled in his honor, and the first 100 veteran attendees will receive a free Chalk Festival Collector Edition Book.

Anyway, it runs all weekend, so stop by for some eye candy. The gritty details:

  • 8 a.m.-6 p.m. Friday-Monday (Nov. 11-14)
  • Venice Airport Festival Fairgrounds, 900 Airport Avenue, Venice
  • Day passes are $10 for adults and $5 for students, with children 12 and under free.
  • Unlimited weekend passes are $25 for adults and $15 for students, and parking is free.
  • for more information



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