For most kids, summer isn't over until their bucket of sidewalk chalk is reduced to unusable nubs. You might think you've outgrown the pleasure of creating powdery masterpieces on cement, but the third annual KeyBank La Piazza dell'Arte on Larimer Square will prove you wrong.
"It's all about the creative process," says Joe Lauer, executive director of the Larimer Arts Association. "We don't tell the artists that they even have to finish; we just want them there creating and showing the creative process in full bloom."
That process runs from 10 a.m. today through 6 p.m. Sunday and will result in 350 feet of chalk-infested sidewalk. There won't be one food booth or drink cart to mar the beauty of the giant work in progress, either: The Piazza's plethora of Italian music and food, including handmade gelato, has been gently kicked to the curb -- and street -- this year. And for the first time in the festival's short history, a wine tent will be pouring vino from ten different regions of Italy; just $20 will get you a sample of all ten.
The application deadline for street artists has passed, but anyone can come down and offer moral support to those toiling under the wannabe-Tuscan sun. "The goal is to help emerging artists, get them in front of people and do something totally unique," Lauer says. Spectators will be able to cast their votes for the People's Choice award and see who the chalkers themselves select for awards in such categories as Best in Show, Most Likely to be Hung in a Museum (If Only We Could) and Most Whimsical.
For more information, visit www.larimerarts.org/la_piazza_dell_arte.html or call 303-685-8124. -- Amber Taufen
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Flying Dog seeks a new illustration.
The staff at Flying Dog Brewery makes no bones about it: Filling artist Ralph Steadman's paint-spattered shoes won't be easy. But Hunter S. Thompson's famed gonzo collaborator, who has served as Flying Dog's label designer since the local brewery introduced its Road Dog Scottish Ale in 1995, is retiring -- temporarily. The mad Englishman is stepping aside long enough for Colorado artists to have a chance to design an original label for the limited-edition Wild Dog brew during the Project Ink Splash Flying Dog Design Contest. Steadman himself will help judge the results.
The special brew is being created for entry in next October's Great American Beer Festival. Interested illustrators ages 21 and over are invited to submit designs with a "wild dog" theme, and here's a word of advice: Leave your spatters at home. Nobody does that better than Steadman, so don't be a copycat, dogs. In addition to having his or her art reproduced on the exclusive bottles for all to see, the lucky winner will receive lots of free beer -- including three cases from the Wild Dog "litter" -- as well as a fancy reception and a profile posted on the Flying Dog website.
The submission deadline is Friday, July 22; for guidelines, go to www.flyingdogales.com. -- Susan Froyd