Crewe’s Market Square was transformed into a sea of colour as award-winning artists arrived from across the globe to ‘Chalk It Up’.
During the two-day pavement art festival at the weekend, more than 8,000 people visited the town centre to watch as 22 artists transformed 12ft by 16ft pitches into breathtaking pieces of original and copy art.
The festival was organised by Cheshire East Council in collaboration with Liverpool-based Urban Canvas, with the council also funding the event in partnership with Crewe Town Council and Whitby Morrison, renowned ice cream van manufacturers.
The artists were competing for the Alice Colman Screever Awards, named after the world’s first female pavement artist, as well as cash prizes.
The winners were decided by a judging panel made up of the Mayor of Cheshire East, Councillor Arthur Moran, the Mayor of Crewe, Councillor Diane Yates, artist and curator Emma Thackham and Rowan Hoban, director of Wild Rumpus, which produces outdoor family arts events.
They selected Ruben Poncia, from the Netherlands, as the ‘best original art’ winner for his ‘Lady of the Lake’ artwork, while Omar Saenz, from Mexico, won ‘best copy art’ for his Caravaggio piece.
They named Philip Garrett, from Liverpool, and Alex Hobby, from Nottingham, joint winners in the ‘best newcomer’ category.
Adry del Rocio, from Mexico, also received an award after her self-portrait received the highest number of votes from the public.
In addition, two prizes were given out to youngsters Hope Voyce and Calum Edwards for their ‘pop up’ pieces of chalk art.
Councillor Diane Yates said: “I was really amazed at the fantastic street art on display and it was wonderful to see the enjoyment and wonder on the faces of so many adults and children, who brought life and energy to the town.”
Councillor Simon Yates, Leader of Crewe Town Council, added: “I have to congratulate Crewe Town Council and Cheshire East Council for organising this innovative and inspiring weekend of art and culture. I look forward to building on the success of this event in the knowledge that the people of Crewe look forward to these events and will support them bringing life and pride back into the town.”
Councillor David Brown, cabinet member for arts and culture at Cheshire East Council, said: “Chalk It Up proved to be a huge success and so far more than 10,000 visitors have travelled to see the artwork.
“There is nothing else of its kind in the UK and our hope is that the festival will become an annual event which really puts Crewe on the map as a destination for arts and culture.
“If you haven’t already been, I’d urge you to make the trip to Crewe before the artwork disappears.”
Councillor Moran said: “It was an absolute privilege to be part of the judging panel for Chalk It Up and I was in awe of the talent on display.
“The festival drew in streams of people throughout the two-day event and it was great to see people of all ages getting involved and speaking to the artists as they worked.”
During the weekend, visitors added their mark to giant chalk paintings in Lyceum Square and children were encouraged to enter a competition. The winners will be announced at a later date.