Painting festival brings an air of Italy to Arts Fest

Jul 20, 2016 883

Street painting has been part of the artistic canon since the middle ages. In 16th-century Europe, artists would create temporary works of art with chalk in public spaces, such as in front of a church or fountain. It was a way for underemployed artists to hawk their skill and attract commissions — or simply earn some tips to pay for a meal.

Although street painting died out as an art form as time went on, it began a comeback in the 1970s as a form of public entertainment. And in 1999, it came to Happy Valley. Holly Foy, coordinator of the Downtown State College Italian Street Painting Festival, said the project got its start when Philip Walz, then-executive director of the Central Pennsylvania Festival of the Arts, visited California in 1998. He was inspired by the street art at the Youth in Arts Italian Street Painting Festival in San Rafael.

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