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You talk the talk, but can you chalk the walk?
For the 30th year, SCAD artists take over Forsyth Park
The 2010 Best in Show winner, by Madison Burger and Sam Spratt

Artists participating in the SCAD Sidewalk Arts Festival are given three hours and a blank, bumpy concrete page to create a masterpiece.

Well, the word "masterpiece" might be pushing it a bit.

For that matter, the word "artists" might be, too.

These 800-some folks - students from all scholarly disciplines, along with SCAD alumni and prospective high school juniors and seniors - are competing for cash awards. Loads of springtime afternoon fun, are perhaps a tan, are in the goody bag for everyone.

For this, the 30th year of the festival, the judges include Ed Murrieta, senior creative director of character art for the Cartoon Network; Dan Weiss, senior creative recruiter at American Greetings; and Rachael Cole, art director for Schwartz & Wade Books.

The canvas is Forsyth Park. The medium, of course, is chalk.

"Some people get very, very serious about it, because it's a long tradition for SCAD and everything," says Casey Crisenbery, an illustration senior who'll be chalking his way through his fourth Sidewalk Arts competition on Saturday.

"But for me, I've always done it in the spirit of having fun. It's Parents Weekend as well, and my parents have always come down and really enjoyed it, too. I take it seriously, but I also make sure that I'm having fun. Because I think that's really part of the joy. You get to see everyone else's work too, and it ends up being a really great event, for the community as well."

Yes, it's Savannah's first warm spring day in the park. Food and drink vendors will be there, naturally, to take your money in exchange for their refreshments. There's a children's art area.

SCAD is screening movies in the park, too, to set the mood: The Goonies is unspooled Thursday, with Toy Story 3 on deck for Friday.

Both films start at 8 p.m. Bring your lawns chairs, et cetera.

The sidewalk chalk event starts promptly at 11 a.m. Saturday.

At the 2010 festival, Crisenbery was the winner in the American Greetings category. "The piece I chose to do last year was a character that I was working on that quarter for my Childrens' Book class," he explains. "For illustration.

"I was drawing him a lot, and I thought it would be a really good piece just to do for fun because of the colors. It turned out very nice. I was happy with it."

For this year, he's still not entirely sure. "About a week beforehand, I kind of think about what I would like to do," Crisenbery explains. "I might sketch out a little picture, or something to give me an idea of what I'll actually draw. But a lot of it, when you get there, you just see how it works. I know some other students do a lot of preparatory work, but it just depends."

For the second year, SCAD is letting potential chalk-masters who can't make the park date send in computer designs. The Cyberwalk Arts contest ends on April 28, but you can check out the 2011 submissions at

Casey Crisenbery, whose media of choice are acrylics and colored pencil, will be hunkered down over his little corner of Forsyth Saturday, chalks in hand. You'll know him because both of his parents will be sitting right there, in lawn chairs. "They come down to keep me company," he says.

"We have the time frame to do the chalk art, and after that's up we usually walk around and looking at the other pieces. It's always fun."

SCAD Sidewalk Arts Festival

Where: Forsyth Park

When: 11 a.m.-5 p.m. Saturday, April 30

Films in Forsyth: "The Goonies" at 8 p.m. April 28; "Toy Story3" at 8 p.m. April 29

Admission: Free