First Annual SouthShore Riverwalk & Chalk Fest to Take Place at SouthSide Works on Saturday, May 28, 2022, Benefitting Pittsburgh Non-Profit, Riverlife
The first-ever chalk festival in Pittsburgh will feature 21 artists from 13 states. The public event will showcase over a dozen local food trucks, local brews and cocktails, and free all- ages entertainment on Memorial Day weekend.
April 11, 2022 (Pittsburgh, PA)— The first-ever Pittsburgh large scale chalk festival will take place at SouthSide Works on Saturday, May 28, 2022. The SouthShore Riverwalk & Chalk Fest will feature 21 chalk artists from 13 states, over a dozen local food trucks, local brews and cocktails, and live entertainment and activities. The event is free and open to the public and will take place from 2pm-6pm. A portion of the proceeds from all food and drink sales will benefit Riverlife, a 501c-3 nonprofit organization that works to create, activate, and celebrate Pittsburgh’s riverfronts.
In addition to leading the community vision for the redevelopment of Pittsburgh’s waterfronts, which include the South Shore Riverfront Park project that sits on the water’s edge at SouthSide Works, Riverlife has also notably activated meaningful public art throughout the last decade to enhance and spotlight Pittsburgh’s riverfronts. Projects and partnerships have ranged from the “Energy Flow” lighting installation on the Rachel Carson Bridge by Andrea Polli and Ron Gdovic to the ArtWalk on the Allegheny initiative in partnership with the Allegheny Regional Asset District and the Pittsburgh Cultural Trust which features the “Black Flowers” mural under Ft. Duquesne Bridge by muralist Camerin “Camo” Nesbit and the “Invisible Ecologies” installation along the Allegheny River by Future Green Studios.
“Over the last two years we have seen again and again the importance of open, activated outdoor spaces in our city,” said Matthew Galluzzo, Riverlife President and CEO. “Events like the Riverwalk & Chalk Fest bring people together and highlight how public art can be a driver of a world-class riverfront experience for all.”
The first annual South Shore Riverwalk & Chalk Fest features 21 artists from 13 states. Artists joining the festival hail from Pennsylvania, Ohio, Texas, California, Florida, Utah, and more — and will be taking up residence in the Steel City on Memorial Day Weekend to showcase their work. Works will range from pieces that invite guests to participate, like Sandy Forseth’s chalk mandala, to 3-dimensional masterpieces from artists like Jan Riggins (Fort Worth, Texas), Kumpa Tawornprom (Tampa, Florida), and Pittsburgh’s own “The Chalking Dad” Erik Greenawalt. Some pieces will be inspired by Pittsburgh’s rivers and riverfronts as an homage to Riverlife’s work.
Artists will begin work on their street murals on Friday, May 27th and will welcome onlookers throughout the process. Works will be complete or nearing completion in time for the Fest’s 2pm start on Saturday, May 28th. Guests will have the opportunity to meet & greet with the artists and engage in photo opps with their favorite pieces.
“I’ve been wanting to have a chalk festival in my hometown for years,” says Erik Greenawalt, The Chalking Dad. “I’ve participated in a lot of the larger national festivals and it’s exciting to welcome so many of my esteemed artist friends to Pittsburgh and show off our city. I think Pittsburghers are going to go wild for this event and artists will look forward to participating for many years to come!”
Public art on the streets of SouthSide Works is not the only thing on the menu. Over a dozen food and activity trucks will be lining 27th & Sidney Streets for the SouthShore Riverwalk & Chalk Fest. Guests will have their pick of everything from local frozen treats from Millie’s Ice Cream and McFeely’s Arctic Ice to barbeque from Smokin’ Ghost to authentic Mexican eats from La Palapa, and more. Guests can also pick out some fresh blooms from Root + Bloom or remember the day with pics from the Steel City Selfie truck. Trace Brewing and Strange Roots Brewing will be slinging local brews and Gordo’s Tacos & Tequila will be mixing up a variety of festive cocktails for sale. A portion of proceeds from the day’s food and drink sales will benefit Riverlife.
Live entertainment and activities will take place throughout the day. P.G.H. Party Creations will be providing free facepainting and airbrush tattoos and surprise pop up performances by jugglers, stilt walkers, and a variety of street performers will delight audiences. The musical lineup will consist of performances by local musical artists Gabriella Salvucci, Kenny Stockard, Halloway Music, and The Roof Acoustic.
Riverlife will also be on-site guiding guests to the best views along the Monongahela River and will be providing tips to enjoy the summer on Pittsburgh’s riverfronts. The non-profit recently released their “Completing the Loop” plan for riverfront improvements over the next decade. “Completing the Loop is about advancing projects, planning, and programming that will create a thriving riverfront for everyone along Pittsburgh’s 15-mile system,” said Galluzzo. “On the programming side, we’ve stepped up in earnest to make the riverfronts come alive. The riverfronts should be replete with attractions and experiences that you cannot find anywhere else in the region. The Festival over Memorial Day weekend is a great way to showcase these incredible spaces and engage the public in a novel way.”