Parking lots at The Marketplace on Ming Avenue were filled with various colors and shapes on Saturday for the annual Via Arte Italian Street Painting Festival.

The free two-day event, put on by the Bakersfield Museum of Art, features dozens of art pieces crafted by the use of chalk on the asphalt of the parking lots. There is also live entertainment and children’s activities at the event, which continues on Sunday.

On Saturday, attendees got to see professional and student artists working on their pieces, some of which were just about finished while others had been scarcely begun.

“It’s amazing. It’s unreal,” said Brittany Greene, a Las Vegas resident who is currently visiting family in Bakersfield and came with them to the event. “I’m sad that it’s on a parking lot, because it’s going to go away.”

Greene said seeing the artwork made her want to do some chalk art herself with her kids. Greene said one of her children, 8-year-old Alli, loves art and for several years has been making little illustrated books.

“I definitely want to buy some (chalk) for my kids and go out on the road and do it,” she said.

Bakersfield resident Maddy Harootian said she has been coming to the festival every year for at least the past five years.

“It’s neat. It’s very beautiful,” she said. “The artists are very talented.”

On Saturday, Stockdale High student Ava Stowers was working on a portrait of a woman in one of the small spaces that anyone is allowed to draw on.

In the past, Stowers said she had drawn in one of the main large spaces but felt it was too difficult to get the proportions right and wanted to try out a smaller space.

“You have a little more control,” she said. “It’s still challenging to figure out the right sizing beforehand.”

Stowers said she primarily sketches portraits but has been trying to expand to other mediums. She said she has been doing art since she was around 8 years old.

“It’s how I express myself. It makes me feel good,” she said. “It also gives me something to do when I’m bored.”

Stowers said she has always enjoyed participating in Via Arte and seeing what other artists are doing.

“I think it’s great. It can bring people together who really enjoy art,” she said. “It’s a happy, positive place.”

Joseph Luiz can be reached at 395-7368 or by email at You can also follow him on Twitter @JLuiz_TBC. 

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