Monday, November 20, 2006
Via Colori, street of colors, a Houston art event that offers a model and even turn-key opportunity for other cities
Via Colori, a Street Painting Festival, was one of the many art events this weekend in Houston. It was designed to attract families throughout Houston to observe some 150 artists, professionals and amateurs. who painted original work in a pastel medium. Food, entertainment, children's activities and a Saturday night street party were part of the charity event, held in Sam Houston Park and partly on Allen Parkway. Free to the public, the organizers pointed out that the street painting "provides a vehicle for the community to witness the act of creation, for artists to display their talent, and to raise awareness of the Center's mission to help children with hearing impairments."
Via Colori is a licensed charity vehicle, you'll see if you visit www.viacolori.com. The organization Identifies your fund-raising and festival tasks and shows you how to bring on hundreds of volunteers.
Via Colori is a modern version of a medieval event. In Renaissance Italy, returning veterans of the wars, many maimed, were able to eke an existence out of begging. One of the neater forms of street solicitation was chalking scenes on the streets near the cathedral. Inasmuch as that era was all about religious art, these men created liturgical scenes. They were called Madonnari, owing to the ubiquity of images of the Virgin Mary.
In shady Sam Houston Park, downtown Houston, the art teams and solo practicioners were adept. Many were professionals. One could observe their progress, their dynamic, their errors as well as expertise.
"In Mary Poppins the chimney sweep Bert was a sidewalk artist on the side. He rendered scenes on the parkside streets in late 19th century London," reminded artist Talbot Hopkins.
Via Colori seemed to us a superb art & media event and would not be a bad one for a regional incarnation.