The Bakersfield Museum of Art presented its annual Via Arté 2022 Italian Street Art Festival this past weekend, where many locals shared and enjoyed their artistic talents with others.
Via Arté Italian Street Painting Festival, most commonly known as Via Arté, is a community art event presented by the Bakersfield Museum of Art. As mentioned by the Bakersfield Museum of Art, it “has become a Bakersfield tradition, bringing together the community and the visual arts since 1998.” The festival uses asphalt as a canvas, allowing participants to use soft pastels and chalk to create their artwork. Via Arté takes place every fall at the Marketplace parking lot in Bakersfield, California.
How Via Arte works is that artists must first register to enter. To register, artists 18 years and older must provide a description and photo of the artwork they will work on in order to receive approval, whether it is a copied artwork or an original work. There is no cost for registering.
Other than artists, Kern County schools and children’s organizations are welcome to participate in Via Arté. The difference between these groups and other artists is that they are required to follow a certain theme. For this year, groups had to align their work with classic masterworks or recognized works of contemporary art while also incorporating the art technique of chiaroscuro.
Chiaroscuro is a technique dating back to the Renaissance and uses a strong contrast of light and dark to create volume when depicting three-dimensional objects.
Registration opened Friday, July 22, for artists, sponsors, and schools, and closed on Sunday, October 2. All participants were notified of acceptance the following Friday, October 7. On Friday, October 21, artists and schools were actually given the time to check in and start early on their artwork.
The first day of Via Arté was officially October 22, with many people arriving in the early morning to start their long day. The parking lot was separated into different areas: one for schools, one for artists, and a small section for children to do some chalk art. Bamboo umbrellas were provided by the Bakersfield Museum of Art. Schools worked with a 7ft x 7ft square area to create their artwork, while other artists got squares much bigger, even ranging from 12ft x 12ft. Children roughly had a 1ft x 1ft square to work on.
Participating schools at Via Arte included Garces Memorial High School, Olive Knolls Christian School, Bakersfield High School, Mountain View Middle School, Centennial High School, Bakersfield Christian High School, Highland High School, East High School, Liberty High School, Wasco Independence High School, Arvin High School, Stockdale High School, and more.
“This has always been a fun event to come to. The weather is actually really nice and not really hot. Having your classmates and friends join you in this friendly contest of sorts is something you can always look back on,” one student stated.
Syriana Neira from West High School commented: “ West High has been coming to Via Arté and has been participating for a while now, and it is my pleasure to be part of creating the artwork we chose to do.”
Besides schools, some artists that were present at Via Arté were actually professional artists. These professionals are often sponsored by other companies or businesses, and do contests like these all around the state. One of these artists was Kayla Bryant, who was sponsored this year by Don C. and Diane S. Lake Family. Bryant is actually this year’s Featured Artist, having participated for 10 years now.
“My work is tedious and I become engrossed and obsessed with the current work at hand. I am continuously learning and developing as an artist with each piece I create,” Byrant’s artist statement reads, which is featured on the Bakersfield Museum of Art’s webpage.
Throughout the two days of the festival, people were able to come out for free and look around. Live music was played by NSA, TCB Music, and much more. The most common thing to see at the festival was locals and their dogs having a walk around the festival.
Participants had to finish before 3 p.m. on Sunday in order to make room for award judging. There were awards for best technique, use of color, rendition of a master, and best in festival for both artists and schools. Other than those categories, there was a people’s choice category that allowed others to vote on which artwork they liked the most. The results were available on Tuesday, October 25.
Here are the following sets of winners of the 2022 Via Arte Italian Street Art Festival:
Best Technique: Katrina Rocha (sponsored by The Meger Family Foundation)
Best Use of Color: Anita Meza (sponsored by Ginny & Fred Hamisch)
Best in Festival: Julio Jimenez (sponsored by Stockdale Podiatry Group, Inc.)
Best Rendition of a Master: Kaylee DeBerti
Schools and Groups-Best Use of Color: McKee Middle School
Schools and Groups-Best Technique: Highland High School
Schools and Groups- Best Rendition of a Master: Foothill High School
Schools and Groups- Best Overall: Frontier High School
Honorable Mention: Garces Memorial High School
People’s Choice: Chris Rodriguez (sponsored by Colombo Construction Company)
Artists’ finished artwork and more information are displayed on the Bakersfield Museum of Art’s website.