Rock the Chalk returns to Iowa City

Rock the Chalk

Downtown Iowa City — Friday, Aug. 11 at noon

Rock the Chalk, 2016 — photo courtesy of MidWestOne Bank

Rock the Chalk is returning to Iowa City, bringing chalk art and live music to the downtown on Friday. It’s the second year for the free chalk art festival, which MidWestOne Bank launched in 2016 to celebrate the restoration of its historic headquarters building on Clinton Street and the opening of a new building in the Riverfront Crossings. Over 2,000 people attended last year’s festival, according to Amy Hospodarsky, community relations manager for MidWestOne.

Organizers are planning for a bigger event this time.

“There will be over 60 artists participating this year, which is more than double the number of artists last year,” Hospodarsky said.

The two north-bound lanes of Clinton Street and all of Washington Street between Clinton and Dubuque will be closed to make room for the event.

Invited artists will begin chalking their designs on the street at 10 a.m. and the public can watch the artists’ progress throughout the day. Last year’s creations included an homage to Iowa artist Grant Wood and a piece celebrating Monarch butterflies.

The day’s main events begin at 5 p.m., when spaces open up for community chalk murals anyone can add to. There will also be face-painting, caricature drawings, airbrush tattoos and other family-friendly activities.

Rock the Chalk’s live music kicks off at noon and continues until the festival closes 8:30 p.m. Scheduled to perform are Ace Jones, Blake Shaw Quintet, James Tutson & the Roll Back and the Bernemann Brothers Band.

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