The Via Colori Street Painting Festival has produced some impressive chalk murals since it first launched in 2006, but nothing like what organizers are aiming for this year.
At a special presentation for festival supporters, Via Colori event manager Lisa Benitez unveiled plans for what may very well be the world's largest street drawing. Proposed for a full downtown block, the project will measure 250 by 50 feet and stretch across a segment of Bagby next to City Hall.
"It's going to be quite the undertaking as you might imagine," said Via Colori's Lisa Benitez, noting that 40 artists will draw the mural in less than 48 hours.
Scheduled to be created Nov. 17 and 18, the colossal image will be divided into small sponsored segments to raise funds for the Center for Hearing and Speech (CHS) — a non-profit agency with support from the United Way of Greater Houston that teaches speaking, listening and literacy skills to children with hearing impairments.
During the announcement at La Griglia, CHS executive director Renee Davis noted that the annual Via Colori festival has raised $1.6 million in the last six years and has attracted an average of 20,000 visitors to each event.
"This mural offers us an amazing opportunity to generate regional and national coverage," Benitez told the small crowd of sponsors and CHS board members, adding later in her speech that she is in the process of filing the project with the Guinness Book of World Records.
"It's going to be quite the undertaking as you might imagine. At least 50 graphic artists and architects will and outline the mural layout late Friday night into the wee hours. All day Saturday, at least 40 artists will come in and do the actual mural. We are challenging them to finish by noon on Sunday."
Douglas Rouse, a celebrated 3D chalk muralist based in Colorado, has designed a cleverly panoramic mural of downtown Houston that manages to include every major building and landmark in the skyline. In the end, the project will cover 12,500 square feet.