Watch pastel chalk paintings come to life as the second annual Reno Chalk Art Festival takes place July 8-9 in the west parking lot of the Atlantis Casino Resort Spa.

Twenty-nine artists — more than double the number of artists that competed in the festival’s debut last year — will be competing for a variety of cash awards, including Best of Show, Best 3D painting, Best Color, and Best Replica of a Master’s Piece. Cash awards are $500 for each category, with $1,000 being awarded to Best of Show.

Artists, who range from novice to expert, were required to submit three images for review before being accepted into the event. No entry fees were required to participate. Artists are given a nine-foot by 12-foot parking space in which to create their chalk masterpiece.

“Art, and in particular chalk art, is becoming more and more popular, mainly influenced by the Maker Movement,” said Tracie Barnthouse, communications manager at the Atlantis. “With Burning Man so close to Reno, art is part of our culture, and over the last few years, Reno has been growing to become a destination for artists.”

The Atlantis got its inspiration for the event from the Denver Art Chalk Festival, which is now in its 15th year, Barnthouse said.

“We consulted with the (Denver) event organizer for our inaugural event and due to its success, we are thrilled to bring it back for its second year,” she said. “We heard nothing but great comments from our guests, and are happy we’ve found our niche to complement Artown.”

The Atlantis also got from Denver some of its most talented artists, the Madonnari, to come as invited participants.

“The Madonnari are a group of (more than 20) artists from the Denver Chalk Arts Festival that have been working together for years,” Barnthouse said. “They’ve performed on chalk for many different festivals and events around the country, including work for the Denver Broncos and Next Stage Now at DPAC.

Rachel Bertsch of Washington, who won Best of Show at last year’s event with her chalk painting of three wolves and an eagle, will return to defend her title.

“I really enjoy being able to perform in front of people and getting that wow factor from the audience watching,” said Bertsch, a lifelong artist who began using chalk three years ago. “It’s a lot of fun being able to show off my skills. The competition this year is going to be even tougher than last year’s and I’m really looking forward to it.”

This year’s event also features live entertainment by Jeremy Cornwell and John Ponzo, several food trucks, craft vendors and a child’s and amateur art chalk area for guests to make their own masterpieces on the sidewalk. Those will not be eligible for the grand prizes, however.

The artwork will remain until the end of the event, until it’s ultimately washed away.

The Chalk Art Festival is a free family-oriented event for that runs from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. both days. Barnthouse has some advice for first-timers to this event.

“Don’t forget your camera to capture the amazing works of art,” she said.

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