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Concrete canvas
Forsyth Park says hello to the 31st SCAD Sidewalk Arts Festival

Liz Fuller is a 22–year–old illustration major at SCAD. The Tennessee native is partial  to scientific illustration — detailed plants and animal drawings, specifically — and her goal, post–graduation, is to return to Nashville and find work as an illustrator of such things.

Fuller was awarded Best in Show at the 2011 Sidewalk Arts Contest for — surprise! — a brilliantly colored perching hummingbird. And she’ll be among the 800 or so artists hunched over the concrete at the 31st annual chalkfest, this weekend in Forsyth Park.

“Last year I had a square all to myself,” Fuller says. “I had participated the year before that and thoroughly enjoyed it, even though during my first festival it rained all day! The rain actually turned out to be helpful in blending the colors of the chalk.”

Fuller is, well, partial to birds.

“My first year competing, I drew a hummingbird and I wanted to continue the tradition,” she explains. “I printed out a photograph and brought it with me, it was a straightforward representation that I did not make any previous sketches for. I used white yarn to lay out the lines of the piece and left the yarn in the piece to bring more depth to it.”

She’d done the yarn thing in 2010, as well. “It was just an idea that I had on a whim that turned out to be quite lovely,” she says.

The competition isn’t limited to those enrolled in SCAD’s art program. Anyone studying architecture — or filmmaking, or cosmetology, for that matter — is welcome to apply for one of the available sidewalk slabs at Forsyth.

It’s also open to SCAD alumni and prospective high school juniors and seniors.

According to Fuller, who’ll be back this year for her third go–round, “The experience as a whole is just spectacular. You are able to spend the entire day in the park surrounded by talented artists, while creating art yourself.”

And she’s turned into quite the Sidewalk Arts Festival booster. “It’s also a really great opportunity for the community to come out and see artists in their element,” she enthuses.

“SCAD is a large part of Savannah, and it’s nice to be able to interact with the community in a creative environment — and just be able to chat with people, it’s just a lot of fun. Being able to talk to people about your artwork is always exciting.

“My best friends here in Savannah always come out to support me and it is wonderful to have them around. My mom has always been so supportive of my choice to become an artist, and it’s awesome to have her there cheering me on.

“Aside from all that, the simple tactile process of drawing on chalk is nostalgic and enjoyable in itself.”

SCAD Sidewalk Arts Festival

Where: Forsyth Park

When: 11 a.m.–5 p.m. Saturday, April 28

Admission: Free