Via Colori: Fredericksburg, VA

The end of September was full of fun fall events but none so vivid as Via Colori in Fredericksburg, Virginia. I was lucky enough to be invited to photograph the event with some other fellow photographers from Create Photographics and we had a blast! Via Colori is a big street art festival that showcases local artists by giving them a space on the street to draw in. They each get a box of pastel chalk and a square – and they get to sit there over the weekend being the muses of the town. Each square is sponsored by a company or individual, and all profits go to art based education. I was there to watch and photograph their pieces unfold on the pavement as each hour passed. We were very lucky the weather held out (sort of) this year. Talking with the artists I found out last year it had rained and washed all their hard work away. It must have been a sight to see all those colours trickle down the street, but I am glad the artists had time to let spectators enjoy their work this time around. There was a light drizzle overnight that required some patch up work by the artists in the morning.

One of the great things about this event is the diversity of the artists themselves. There was a lot of student/teacher combos from schools around the area , freelance artists, professional street artists and people doing it just for fun. The quality of the work from all were outstanding. The thing I really enjoyed about the festival was the lack of stress and the non-competative nature that surrounded it. Everyone was filled with smiles and greetings to each other, borrowing chalk colours and chatting about their pieces. Some people had great stories about what they were drawing. There were a few artists who were recreating photographs from their photographer friends, which I thought was fantastic! If anyone wants to draw any of my photos – feel free! I already have had people tattoo my work onto them, so that would be another cool thing to add to the books!

Everywhere you turned there were vivid colours flying at you. Yes, I write colours because I am Canadian ;) I kept accidentally writing Via Colouri instead of Colori, too! There were artists covered from head to toe in chalk by the end of it. Not only did the colours stand out, but the street performers did as well. Mike Taggert was not only a fantastic magician, but he also sponsored the Via CoThrowie LED project that Fredericksburg All Ages created. It was an adorable artistic event where local kids could throw LED’s that had been taped to magnets onto a metal van at night. Mike Taggert donated his Plumb Magic Van to be the subject.  It was a lot of fun to photograph and the kids loved it! Check out this video here for a deeper understanding of how it unfolded: LED Throwie . There were also Luminaries in the evening. The streets were lined with paper bags of light which was so beautiful. It reminded me of the candlelight ceremony I took part in at CreationFest.

 Everyone walking about seemed to have a cup of Rita’s Italian Ice. Can I just talk for a second about Rita’s? I haven’t been able to find a decent slurpee since moving to the US. The 7-11’s down here actually pump air into their slurpees and it makes them styrofoam-y and gross. Rita’s is Italian ice, I know… but I’m slightly addicted since trying it at the festival. I tried their Swedish Fish flavour. I’m pretty sure they have a bunch of oompa loompas in a factory liquefying the little fish candy and freezing them into this delicious treat. So. Good.

I can’t express how much fun this was and how much it lifted my artistic spirit. Walking down the street was so inspirational. Talking to the artists about their pieces and their backgrounds was even more eye-opening. I can’t wait for next year (this was their second annual event). I might even get a square to draw on. The last time I worked with pastel was in 7th grade and I loved it. I always knew my career would have to be something creative. It’s amazing how one creative field bleeds into the next and so on. I met some really great people this year and cannot wait for next years showcase! 

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