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Chalk It Up on the sidewalks of Midtown

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Chalk It Up!

This year’s Chalk It Up! event appeared to have outgrown its venue at Fremont Park. Thousands of visitors came to enjoy the three day annual event. As usual, the event was held during the Labor Day weekend.

Talented and creative artists of all ages participated using just chalk and the sidewalk around Fremont Park to create some magnificent pieces of art.

Music has always been a centerpiece of the event and once again Jerry Perry Presents put together a great lineup. Close to three dozen local musicians and bands participated to create another memorable Chalk It Up.

Jerry Perry

Children’s activities, a beer garden, food and numerous vendors shared the grounds at Fremont Park. Chalk It Up! helps to raise money to benefit children’s art education. The event continues to be one of the best free events in Sacramento.

Saturday, opening day, artists had already been working when I arrived around noon. Many artists from last year returned to draw for new and established sponsors, and just as many new artists were able to work on their masterpieces.

Chalk It Up!

As you walked around the four main areas surrounding the park, you could see many smaller squares purchased for children to use. Some of the children looked very intense as they worked on their chalk creations and the concentration in their eyes, in some cases, showed a keen interest in the activity. You wonder how many children will continue to pursue this type of activity and become involved in the arts.

Chalk It Up!

Eleven bands were scheduled to appear on Saturday alone. Island of Black and White was an act I had not seen before, although I have seen Chris Haislet perform several times as a member of Walking Spanish. Island of Black and White started off their set with a great rendition of Tracy Chapman’s “Give Me One Reason.” A few other cover songs were performed including an old time favorite, “The House of the Rising Sun.”

Chris Haislet of Island of Black and White

As the bands played, guests were able to walk around. Several artists answered questions from passers-by as they continued to work on their art. The subject matter created on the concrete canvas spanned a range of topics. A woman’s chalk drawing of her baby son was very realistic. A mother and daughter created separate spots but worked side by side on their individual projects. Dozens of children created their own little masterpieces and some were quite impressive.

Chalk It Up! Artist creating a portrait of her infant son

I’m sure several artists who worked side by side created some new friendships. It was also a great experience for artists to hear compliments on their work. Their hard work lasts a day or two until heavy foot traffic, bikes and sprinklers begin to fade away the art.

A crowd favorite, Adrian Bourgeois, also took the stage during the event. Bourgeois performed a mix of cover favorites which included, U2’s “I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For” and the Beatles’ “Here Comes the Sun.”

Adrian Bourgeois

As each musician took the stage, they all took a few minutes to tune up. Single musicians took the least amount of time on sound check, setting up and moving off the stage. Jerry Perry introduced each act and had a unique story to tell the audience about each of the performers.

Chalk It Up!

One of several teen bands, SIMPL3JACK, brought a healthy trio to the stage. At last year’s event, Cole, the lead singer, lost his voice while performing. This year they blasted the audience with a heavy blend of vocals and music, making new fans from those who had not heard them before. The 13-14 year olds that make up SIMPL3JACK wowed the crowd. Also performing were Early States and Todd Morgan & the Emblems.

Cole of Simpl3jack
Early States
Todd Morgan & the Emblems.

The next few musical acts had been touring together in Europe after a local performance at the Hot Italian lunch concert series and at the Friday Night Concerts in the Park. Dog Party and Kepi Ghoulie provided wonderful sets of music.

Lucy Giles of Dog Party

Kepi Ghoulie, as always, entertained the audience with his humor and antics as he performed. At one point he pointed to Hot Italian, ordered a pizza over the microphone and said he wanted it delivered five minutes before the end of his set. The funny thing was that Hot Italian must have heard him. They delivered just before he played his last song.

Kepi Ghoulie with Hot Italian pizza on one hand and Gwendolyn Giles by his side

The artwork for this year’s Chalk It Up! posters and t-shirts were created by the talented and inspirational Kepi Ghoulie.

Dog Party accompanied Kepi on stage. Kepi is one of the best role models in the rock world and his talent is as large as his heart.

Random Abiladeze closed out the set for the first evening of music. The group played hip-hop with a soulful, jazzy world beat.

Random Abiladeze

The mixture of music, art and community continues to impress during the Chalk It Up! festival. Sunday’s lineup included a number of great acts as well, including Failed to Resolve, Parie Wood and ReggieG inn. I’m not sure how long ago the event started to headline local musical artists, but it has added much to the growth of the event.

Reggie Ginn with a fan

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