Chalk the Walk 2017

Chalk the Walk Art 2016

Chalk the Walk 2017

FI 20160508-Chalk the Walk253 (2) Tyler's Selfie 20162017 is the 12th anniversary of Iowa’s largest-ever Madonnari Festival, Chalk the Walk.  This event is on Saturday and Sunday, May 6 and 7, 2017, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Join the fun at Chalk the Walk 2017!

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Chalk the Walk will feature the work of over 500 artists! They will use a downtown city street as a canvas and more than a half-ton of chalk. Cash prizes will be awarded to chalk artists during a formal check presentation ceremony on Sunday afternoon, May 7.

Washington Elementary students will be displaying their own Saturday Evening Post covers and self-portrait baseball cards in the windows of Mount Vernon City Hall.  Just outside City Hall will be a giant step-in baseball card so festival-goers can create their own life-sized baseball card photo.

Collaborative Centerpiece

Norman Rockwell’s “Dugout” will be the centerpiece of the 2017 Chalk the Walk Festival in Mount Vernon, May 6 and 7.

This year’s large collaborative piece of chalk art is a 30’ by 50’ recreation of Norman Rockwell’s famous Saturday Evening Post cover “Dugout.”  For a $10 donation to the festival, any interested festival participant will be given a set of chalk sticks. Then each artist will create a single 2’ by 2’ square of a portion of the image. When finished, a recreation of “Dugout” will appear on Mount Vernon’s Main Street as a giant image. This centerpiece of Chalk the Walk will be colored with pastel chalk by dozens of artists of all ages and abilities.

“We are thrilled to announce “Dugout” as our large community piece for 2017,” said Danielle Chargo, chair of the Chalk the Walk committee. “We have wanted to do a Norman Rockwell piece for several years, and the timing with last year’s historic Cubs World Series win seemed like the perfect opportunity. I can’t think of a better way to start out the summer of 2017!”

Chalk the Walk is based on an original art form that began in Italy in the 16th century. Called Madonnari, this form of public art was originally done by street artists hoping to collect coins from passersby. Images back then were based on religious themes, and as the Madonna was a popular subject, the artists became known as the “Madonnari.”

Note:  “Dugout” image courtesy of Curtis Licensing, a division of The Saturday Evening Post Society, Inc.


Chalk the Walk 2017 Music Schedule

Smaller Chalk the Walk 2016 6

Information for Artists:

Again this year, thanks to generous support from the  City of Mount Vernon and the Mount Vernon Area Arts Council, many prizes will be awarded. One artist will receive a 1st place prize and will also be asked to return for the 2018 Chalk the Walk festival, where they will be given the opportunity to appear as the Featured Artist. There will also be other cash prizes awarded including the Artist’s and People’s Choice Awards!

  • There is no fee to take part as an artist. Artists need only provide talent and enthusiasm!
  • Artists will be allotted an 8’ x 10’ section of pavement.
  • Chalk will be provided.
  • The Chalk the Walk committee will provide lunch vouchers that can be used at the temporary food vendor booths.
  • The Chalk the Walk committee will provide a qualified juror to award prizes.
  • Artists are asked not to bring other work to be sold.
  • Artist applications are due April 15, 2017.


  • The artist applications are available via PDF or online.
  • The food vendor applications are available online.
  • Volunteers are still needed for Chalk the Walk.  The volunteer applications are available online.

This event is organized by volunteers representing the City of Mount Vernon, Mount Vernon Parks and Recreation, the Mount Vernon Area Arts Council and the Mount Vernon-Lisbon Community Development Group (CDG).

About Mount Vernon

Historic Mount Vernon, Iowa, is home to 4500 residents, including 1200 college students enrolled at Cornell College. Located in Eastern Iowa at the intersection of Highways 30 and 1, 20 miles north of Iowa City and 15 miles east of Cedar Rapids, it boasts a vibrant uptown business community with numerous antique and specialty stores, restaurants, coffee houses, commercial art galleries, and three National Historic Districts.

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May 06 2017


10:00 am - 6:00 pm

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Uptown Mount Vernon, Iowa
1st Street and Iowa 1


Joe Jennison
(319) 210-9935
[email protected]