Chalk the Walk 2018

CTW 2017 Drone Shot

Chalk the Walk 2018

2018 is the 13th anniversary of Iowa’s largest-ever Madonnari Festival, Chalk the Walk.  This event is on Saturday and Sunday, May 5 and 6, 2018, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Join the fun at Chalk the Walk 2018!

RSVP for Chalk the Walk 2018 on Facebook


Bryce Cox won 1st Place at Chalk the Walk 2017
Bryce Cox won 1st Place at Chalk the Walk 2017 and will be returning as the 2018 featured artist.

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. Last year’s 1st Place Winner, Bryce Cox, will return to the event as this year’s featured artist. Cash prizes will be awarded to chalk artists during a formal check presentation ceremony on Sunday afternoon, May 6.  

“We are ready to kick off the summer festival season in Mount Vernon with our annual Chalk the Walk event,” said Danielle Chargo, Chair of the Chalk the Walk committee. “This year we chose to work with the theme of Cinco de Mayo as our festival landed on May 5. We are asking everyone in Iowa to come spend Cinco de Mayo with Mount Vernon!”

 Collaborative Centerpiece

Cinco De Mayo piece
This image by Robert Rodriguez will be the centerpiece of Chalk the Walk 2018 as Mount Vernon celebrates Cinco de Mayo!

This year’s large collaborative piece of chalk art is a 34’ by 44’ recreation of California artist Robert Rodriguez’s “Cinco de Mayo.”  The image was originally designed by Rodriguez for the 1998 Cinco de Mayo stamp, which was issued jointly by the U.S. and Mexican Postal Service.  For a $10 donation to the festival, any interested festival participant will be given a set of chalk sticks and create a single 2’ by 2’ square of a portion of the image.  When finished, a recreation of “Cinco de Mayo” 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.

In addition, volunteers will be on hand to offer piñata demonstrations at 11 a.m., 1 p.m., 3 p.m. and 5 p.m. each day. Children 10 and younger will be asked to sign up for their chance to break the piñata and win candy and prizes.

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.”

Live Music Schedule:

2018 Chalk the Walk Music Schedule

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 2019 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 pastels will be provided.
  • The Chalk the Walk committee will provide lunch vouchers that can be used at the temporary food vendor booths.Smaller Chalk the Walk 2016 6
  • 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, 2018.  
  • Artist spaces are based on a first come, first serve basis. Artist spaces are capped at 150. Once filled, applications will close and additional names will be added to a waitlist.


Judges will review the chalk artwork for creativity, originality, use of medium/color/principles of design, and impact, awarding the following prizes:

  • (1) 1st Place $250 + an invitation to return as 2019’s Featured Artist
  • (2) 2nd Place Awards $100
  • (3) 3rd Place Awards $75
  • (12) Honorable Mention Awards $25
  • (1) Artist’s Choice Award $50
  • (1) People’s Choice Award $50



  • The artist application form is available online.
  • The food vendor application is posted online.
  • The sponsorship forms also available.
  • 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.

Share This Page:


May 05 2018


10:00 am - 6:00 pm

More Info

Read More


Uptown Mount Vernon, Iowa
1st Street and Iowa 1


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