Denver Sidewalk Chalk Art in Larimer Square

On Saturday, I went to the Denver Chalk Art Festival on historic Larimer Square.

And by “historic,” I mean gold miners set up camp in this very area in the 19th century, and those settlements eventually grew and turned into the city of Denver.

The festival featured 200 chalk artists who covered the square with street paintings over two days.

I saw most of the street paintings while they were works-in-progress.

Here, for example, the artist for the Rocky Mountain College of Art and Design drew one of the biggest crowds (and later won the People’s Choice Award) as she worked on this:

We also ran across some old favorites from the comics section.

One piece of artwork drew me in more than all the others, though. I kept going back to look at it.

Do you recognize it?

How about now?

Yep, that’s Vermeer’s masterwork, Girl with a Pearl Earring.

In sidewalk chalk.

Let’s compare and contrast with the original, shall we?

Stunning, no? And I didn’t even see the final version on Sunday.

The artist, Tim Cawley, won second place, Best in Show.

Full list of winners here.

135 responses to “Denver Sidewalk Chalk Art in Larimer Square”

  1. kerri says:

    Calvin and Hobbes is my favourite one :-) . But that last one is simply AMAZING, especially considering it’s done on SIDEWALK in GIANT CHALK. Awesome!!

  2. Amy says:

    Right? That festival link is going to have photos from Sunday up soon – I can’t wait to see the finished versions.

  3. MC says:

    W-O-W! My brother and I never got anywhere near this kind of use of chalk. We got very good at designing roads with 4 chalks a day, in a culdesac. This stuff here though, blows my mind. W-O-W!

  4. Elisheva says:

    Wow. That’s great! What’s even greater is these people do it anyways knowing it will all wash away. This is a far ways away than the sidewalk chalk drawings I used to do as a kid :)

  5. Amy says:

    One of the artists said they (I don’t know who “they” are – the city, maybe?) actually wash the drawings away Sunday night so that the chalk doesn’t wash into the rivers and pollute them.

    The way they’re so beautiful and so temporary reminds me of Buddhist sand mandalas.

    ETA: Check out photos of the winners here:

  6. Sara C. says:

    that is so incredible…and I thought the castles and camps that Abby draws all over the driveway were artistic and cool

  7. Chris says:

    I like the Calvin and Hobbes, but I am not surprised that it did not win:)

  8. B.Traveller says:

    The “Girl with a Pearl Earring” piece is a great example of realistic chalk work. When I went to the chalk art fair last year, I was really impressed with the realism in this piece.

    Great to see more coverage of this event on the web!

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