Vibe on Ventura's Vivacious (and Free) Chalk Fest

Start September by admiring a splendid line-up of on-the-ground artworks.

SEPTEMBER, it is sometimes said, is a bit like a little January. Not in the sense that it is cold out, because that would be a big, blinking, giant, neon "nope," at least around Southern California. And not in the sense that we're noshing on a lot of holiday leftovers, or wearing our favorite stretchy sweater around the clock. But, like the first month, the ninth month sees a lot of new starts, fresh resolutions, and I'm-gonnas gain footing, thanks to the month's strong back-to-school spirit. And if you're making some promises as September draws near, here's are easy ones to keep: See more art. Get fresh air. Be with your friends. And don't spend oodles of bills in the process. How, though, to rev up your September-style resolutions? A trip to...

VENTURA HARBOR... over the first full weekend of September 2019 seems like a primo idea, if you like staring down at the ground and being delighted by what you find there. For that the Ventura Art & Street Painting Festival is back, on Sept. 7 and 8, delivering a whole bunch of delightful, in-process pieces created from colorful hunks of chalk and cement. The artists who create these over-sized birds and wondrous planets and nifty celebrity portraits and trompe l'oeil treats dutifully create while strangers stand but a few feet away, watching. If you're there near the beginning of the weekend, you'll see the picture taking shape, and, near the end, the last line will be drawn.

SOME 45 MADONNARI, or street painters, will quickly and craftily compose the below-our-feet imagery near the water, so take time to see each one, or to call upon the nearby booths featuring artworks that aren't cement-based. Some of California's most splendid and long-running summer celebrations involve chalk art, from San Rafael to Pasadena to Santa Barbara, events that arrive earlier on the calendar. It's Ventura's turn, and it is just in time to help us fulfill a September promise: more art, more ocean, less spending, more smiles.

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