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ColorPalooza delights despite dampening rain

Local News, Notes and Events
Posted by WhosPlayin on 2016/4/16 14:30:00 (2398 reads)

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As part of ColorPalooza, an Eco Alley was held in front of City Hall. Representatives of various environment-related organizations like Keep Lewisville Beautiful and LLELA were on hand to talk to visitors. (Photo by Steve Southwell)


Despite some rain, the City of Lewisville pulled off a successful first-annual ColorPalooza event last Saturday, April 9, in Old Town. The family-friendly outdoor art festival, which was scheduled from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., was shut down early at 2:30 p.m. when storms moved into the area.

Lewisville spokesman James Kunke said that even though the rain dampened attendance, the city conservatively estimates the turnout at 2,500 people, which was higher than the Chalk This Way events the city has hosted in the past.

“We know that at the food vendors and at the activities, there were lines, but not terribly long lines— 8-10 people normally, and that’s a good thing,” said Kunke. “That means that there was good traffic.”

The City of Lewisville seized the opportunity this year to expand the event formerly known as Chalk This Way into a festival utilizing the newly constructed Wayne Ferguson Park, bringing in live music and performances, food vendors, and hands-on art opportunities for children and families.

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The Free Loaders play swing, blues, and jazz on the Main Stage in Ferguson Plaza. (Photo by Steve Southwell)
The front of Lewisville City Hall was used as a stage for performances from groups like Alma y Corazón Tejano Ballet Folklórico, which performed traditional Mexican dances. The Tribal Traditions Dance Troupe also performed Native American dances in front of delighted crowds.

An Eco-Alley, with booths from local environment-oriented organizations and companies such as LLELA, Keep Lewisville Beautiful, Waste Management, and the Denton County Master Gardener Association was also held below the front steps of City Hall. Guests were treated to demonstrations and information about what the groups and companies had to offer.

On the soft grass lawn of Wayne Ferguson Park, crowds grooved to the sounds of live bands “A Taste of Herb,” a Herb Alpert and the Tijuana Brass tribute band, and The Free Loaders, a 6-piece jazz and blues band. Havana NRG, a Latin band, was scheduled to play at 2:30, but was cancelled due to the rain.

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Artists work on their chalk art on the sidewalks in front of Lewisville City Hall. (Photo by Steve Southwell)
One of the biggest hits of the festival was a do-it-yourself tie dye T-shirt station, sponsored by Kris Tee’s T–Shirts, and staffed by LHS Band Boosters. Participants paid $5 for a white T-shirt printed up for ColorPalooza, and volunteers showed them how to tie them up to create a design of the purchaser’s choice. Tables were setup with squirt bottles of different-colored dyes that people could use to create their own wearable masterpiece. Kunke said the city had to obtain resupply for T-shirts twice.

Church Street between Mill and Herod was blocked off, hosting dozens of art vendor booths, and a “midway” of sorts full of inflatable play attractions for kids.

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A man helps a young girl create her colorful tie dye masterpiece. (Photo by Steve Southwell)
Tents around the plaza, on Charles Street, and in the Medical Center of Lewisville Grand Theater had stations for kids and adults to try their hand at creating their own art pieces.

The event was an extension of Chalk This Way— a competition and exhibition of short-lived chalk art drawn directly on the sidewalk, launched in 2011. It was started in The Colony by arts support organization The Lakeside Arts Foundation, and was held there for two years before moving to Lewisville in 2013.

Lakeside Arts expanded its scope to other nearby cities, inspired in part by Lewisville’s commitment to build its arts center, the Medical Center of Lewisville Grand Theater. In addition to Chalk This Way, the group has funded or organized numerous events and arts-related entities in North Texas. The group is partially funded by an Arts Grant from the City of Lewisville.

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Carrie Taylor Dziabczenko, a professional artist from Fort Worth, participates in Chalk This Way for her second year. (Photo by Steve Southwell)
“We have always envisioned having a larger arts and music festival,” said Christi Martin, the organization’s founder and president. “We’ve talked to Greater Lewisville Arts Alliance about doing that, so those plans have been in the works since the very beginning of moving it to Lewisville,” she said.

“With just our group of a few people, we could not do that. we didn’t have the manpower or the time with volunteers.”

Like the city’s premier festival, Western Days, ColorPalooza is funded by hotel occupancy tax proceeds, which are restricted to use for the arts and promotion of tourism. This year $34,000 was budgeted, but Kunke said that number came in closer to $33,000. It was also partially offset by $6,138 in revenue from the festival, which also came in better than budget.

“We didn’t charge for the kids’ activities, and we don’t charge admission, and so we’re never going to break even,” said Kunke.

“A lot of times it’s [the city] making an investment in the quality of life in the area. The fact that we got some of that revenue to offset those expenses is a bonus for us.”

Kunke said the city is looking at a controlled plan for growth of the festival, and that within a few years, it could extend to have some hours on Sunday as well. “Right now our focus is to make it the best Saturday event we can, and if the public starts demanding more, then we will be prepared to give them more.”

Lakeside’s Christi Martin was very pleased with the evolution of the event that she said she had put in so much effort on over the years.

“I think it was tremendously successful,” said Martin.

Martin said that about 300 kids had participated in the Children’s Gallery portion of Chalk This Way, and that another 100 or so had participated in the amateur chalk art competition. Awards were given for Best in Show, Best use of Color, Best Anime’, Best Visual Concept, Best 3-D Image, and People’s Choice.

A scholarship competition sponsored by Lewisville Morning Rotary awarded $1,100 in scholarships to high school seniors who participated in Chalk This Way. Rotary held a silent auction of donated artworks to fund the scholarships.

Lakeside Arts also hired several professional artists to create works at the event.

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Young dancers from Alma y Corazón Tejano Ballet Folklórico, performed traditional Mexican dances in their colorful dresses. (Photo by Steve Southwell)
“We wanted something that people of all ages from toddlers to great grandparents could participate in,” said Martin.

An artist in a family of artists, Martin reckons she has put in about 400 hours on the event this year.

“One of my greatest joys is to see a child or anybody really find that creativity, and the first time they make something that is beautiful, just to see that light in their faces. That is my purpose in life.”

With all of the work for the festival behind her, Martin says her friends have asked her if she’s glad to be able to take a break. But there is no rest for her yet. Martin’s next task is to work on her organization’s grant application for the City of Lewisville’s arts grants for the 2016/17 fiscal year, which is due in early May.

“After May, I can take a bit of a break,” she said.

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Editor's note:
Steve Southwell, the writer of this story, serves on the City of Lewisville's Arts Advisory Board, the body that reviews arts grants applications and advises the city council on funding for Lewisville arts organizations.

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