By Jennifer Ross, The American Reporter

The Covina Chalk Art Festival is an annual event held in the city of Covina, California, and this year marks its 12th anniversary. Presented by the City of Covina Park and Recreation Department, Autism Highway, and the H.H. Dorje Chang Buddha III Cultural and Art Museum, along with the IKEA in partnership, the festival was the biggest one in its history, with 80 artists participating this year. The event took place on April 15th, 2023, and the venue this year was extended from Heritage Plaza to School Street.

The young artist working on his chalk art painting.

The participant artists came from different backgrounds, including professional artists, art students, and hobbyists, with ages ranging from 14 and up, all of whom came together to create beautiful works of art on the sidewalks of Covina. One of this year’s highlights was a painting in memory of a fallen Fire Captain Arn Tretsven by artist Ruth Villa Perez.

The family members of Tretsven, Covina city council members, and firefighters taking photo in front of the painting of Arn Tretsven.

The Covina Chalk Art Festival celebrates creativity, community, and the arts. It was started by Kelly Green and her Autistic friends in 2011 to provide a platform for Autistic people to express themselves creatively through art.

Kelly has an autistic son born in 1999. During the past decades, she had developed friendship with Autistic adults and families with Autistic children and had been dedicated to raising awareness about Autism. Kelly said, “Autism crosses all of human live. In every country, culture, and region, Autism exists. Autistic traits are human traits in high and low amplifications. Every Autistic person is seeking balance within their internal system as all other people do. Autism is not that far from the so-called norm. Our continues mission with this event is to bring people together to share the divergent ways in which people experience with this world.”

The H.H. Dorje Chang Buddha III Culture and Art Museum’s involvement in the 12th annual Covina Chalk Art Festival was more than just an opportunity to showcase beautiful artwork. The Museum has been adhering to the teachings of H.H. Dorje Chang Buddha III as guiding principles since its establishment in 2014. The Museum has been not only promoting culture and art, but also actively involved in charity work for several years, organizing various events and programs such as food drives and face masks donation to frontline workers during the pandemic.

As early as 2017, the Museum co-organized an art exhibition titled “Expression: An Art by Exceptional Artists” with Autism Highway and other organizations, which built a platform for Autistic youths to show their talents. This year, the Museum continued its commitment to art by inviting artist Tina Chen and her students to present an exhibition titled “Brighten Your Life – A Decoupage Exhibition” from April 15th to April 22nd. Dating back to the late 17th century, decoupage is a decorative art form that involves cutting out paper designs and gluing them onto a surface to create a pattern or picture. It gained popularity in Europe during the 18th and 19th centuries. The exhibition highlighted the enchanting aspect of decoupage art, demonstrating how utilitarian objects can be transformed into works of art. For example, a plain tray can be transformed into a stunning centerpiece by adding fabric and floral motifs. Chen and her students also conducted a Decoupage workshop at the Museum on April 15th, which was well-received by numerous visitors. Many visitors expressed that this art exhibition not only provided them a glimpse into the world of decorative art but also inspired them to creatively repurpose discarded household items.

Kids are making their own coaster using decoupage art at the workshop.

The Covina Chalk Art Festival was more than just an event that celebrated the arts. It was also an opportunity for the community to come together and connect with each other. The festival provided a space where people from different walks of life could come together and appreciate the beauty of art while enjoying a day of fun and entertainment. It was a testament to the City of Covina’s commitment to promoting the arts and community engagement.

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