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Pavement Art Steps Into Downtown During Street Painting

The sidewalks come alive at the 27th SNT Street Painting Fest.

The sidewalks of Montgomery Street will once again pop with color this year. Michael Davis photo

The sidewalks of Montgomery Street in downtown Syracuse will once again be coated with eye-popping chalk paintings during the 27th annual Street Painting Festival, presented by the Syracuse New Times. The event runs Saturday, July 29, 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. The rain date will be Saturday, Aug. 5, if needed.

The event has become a staple for Arts Week in Syracuse, which celebrates the local and national culture of the arts with various festivals, performances and gatherings in areas such as Hanover Square, Columbus Circle and Clinton Square.


The festival will again cater to artists of all age groups. The categories consist of adults, teens and youth (12 and under), and there are no restrictions on participation; artists of all skill levels are welcome. Teens and youths both pay $10 for preregistering, and adults pay $20. The price is upped by $5 on the day of the event. Preregistration is available now until Friday, July 28, noon, at Chalk will be provided for those without any, although bringing some from home is always encouraged.

T-shirts designed by the award-winning Syracuse New Times creative team will be available for available for $15. For each shirt sold, $5 will be donated to Two Brothers’ Light, a nonprofit to help individuals grieving the loss of a loved one to suicide.

If creating vibrant artwork for the citizens to marvel at isn’t enough incentive to participate, prizes will be given out to the first- and second-place winners for each age group. Adults receive $150 and $75; teens come home with $75 and $50; and youths win $50 and $25.

An honorable mention for each group and people’s choice will also win gift cards and other prizes to area businesses. All participants are automatically entered to win other various gift certificates, which will be awarded throughout the day’s proceedings.

Entertainment for the day includes Coco the Clown and her face-painting gang, food and drinks. Local artist and designer Tommy Lincoln will also be on hand to put his professional stamp on the event. Last year Lincoln sketched out a cartoon of a scientist using his distinctive drawing style on one of the blocks. Some of his other artistic endeavors can be seen throughout Central New York, including logo designs for Modern Malt and Beak and Skiff’s 1911 hard cider.

“(Street Painting) gives a chance for a lot of people to explore downtown with their kids. It gets a lot of the youth involved,” Lincoln said. “It adds pops of color to the city. Everybody is smiling and having a good time, and that’s what it should be like.”

Coming prepared to Street Painting is always a good idea. A spray bottle of water can serve as an eraser, and kneepads or a kneeling mat can help artists stay comfortable. And a spritz of hairspray can extend the lifespan of your work of art, especially of you want to revisit your chalk masterpiece a few days later,

Whether you’re pulling up a lawn chair for the entire day or just passing through on your way to another Arts Week event, the Syracuse New Times Street Painting Festival is always worth a look-see.

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