Berkley Chalks Up Another Great Street Art Fest
(Crystal A. Proxmire, July 14, 2019)
Berkley, MI – Eight year old twins Mila and Isla Kroll had a fun time Saturday creating sidewalk art out of chalk. So did their mother Camille who decided to create a masterpiece of her own with a menagerie of chalky creatures.
“My daughters did it last year and it was so much fun I figured I would do it too,” Knoll said.
The Berkley Street Art Fest was a chance for artists of any age to help decorate part of downtown. Though a contest determines which is the best, everyone who took the time to make an image was, in a way, a winner.
So too were the businesses of Berkley.
“This [event] helps bring people down and exposes them to the cool cultural aspect of town,” said DDA Director Vivian Carmody, “Twelve Mile has had events for years. It was great for the Chamber [of Commerce] to have this vision and get more exposure to Coolidge businesses.
Carmody explained that Downtown Berkley has placed a growing emphasis on public art as a way to attract visitors and give the community added vibrancy.
“You drive down Coolidge or Twelve Mile and there’s all these blank walls,” she said. That’s why the DDA added public art into their budget. Since then, the number of murals has grown to 13.
Another piece of public art was created at the festival, with visitors paining in little sections of an outline full of words and images.
“These are all things that came from the City’s Master Planning process,” Carmody said.
“Charming, friendly, small town. There are all values that are important to residents and businesses,” she said.
Other types of art were showcased at the fair as well.
Crystal Jennings of Southfield was there with a booth of Zen-inspired paintings, prints, and printed accessories.
Jennings took up painting in her 20s, a hobby she says she does for “the relaxation and the peace.”
“I want my art to convey my own spiritual side and how I feel about nature.
Berkley resident Kate McGilsky had paintings at the show, but her other product has come from a different type of artistry. McGilsky runs the Stoned Kitty Company, which blends various types of catnip in to a custom blend that most kitties love.
“In the same way that humans process THC differently, cats process the catnip differently,” she said. “When you give cats catnip from the store, some love it and some have no reaction. But most stores only carry one kind. Ours is a blend so it’s more likely to affect more cats, and in different ways.”
Jamie Eggers of Berkley is accustomed to painting with watercolors, but decided to give chalk a try, drawing “Grinchmas in July,” featuring a childhood favorite green character.
“The dust falls back on it, and it gets chips, so it’s a little different. But it’s still fun,” Eggers said.
In addition to all the art, there was music, fire dancing, and a man on a stilt/unicycle to keep attendees entertained.
Learn more about Downtown Berkley at www.downtownberkley.com
For more Berkley news, visit the Oakland County Times Berkley News Page.