Houston welcomed the annual Via Colori street painting festival over the weekend in Hermann Square downtown, and if you missed it, you missed out.
More than 25,000 reportedly attended last year’s festival, with artists painting colorful creations on the city sidewalks, accompanied by live music, good food and good beer, both then and now.
The most recent works of chalk art spoke to a particularly emotional 2017, with several works capturing the perseverance exhibited during Harvey.
Others depicted the jubilation brought by the Astros’ World Series win.
The event opened free to students, and, according to its website, all proceeds from ticket sales went to the Center for Hearing and Speech, a nonprofit dedicated to helping hearing-impaired children in Houston through health and educational services.
All told, the festival brought in $400,000 this year, according to the Houston Chronicle, with around 30,000 people estimated to be in attendance.
“It impacts these kids more than you know,” Kindergarten Teacher Latoya Martin, who works at the Center, said in an interview. “It’s giving them the tools they need to be successful in a hearing world, so it’s definitely life changing.”
It appears to be changing the lives of the artists, too:
D’lynn Gutierrez, a student at Cypress High, got emotional when a piece the 17-year-old created in a previous festival – a sketch of hands holding the city of Houston – showed up again recreated for this year’s festival.
“Seeing my art as being worth enough to people to come together and create something this big – a 10-by-10-foot mural that takes two whole days to do – means the world to me,” Gutierrez said in an interview.
Artists reportedly partner with sponsors to make their murals every year, and many say the opportunity for their work to be viewed, as well as raising money for a good cause, is what keeps them coming back year after year.
“It’s important for people who don’t know Houston, who are new to Houston, to come out and embrace the beauty and the art and the culture that Houston has to offer,” artist Netra Sheth, who’s participated in Via Colori in previous years, said in an interview.
Stay bright, Houston! See y’all next year!