The Sarasota Chalk Festival was held almost two months ago, but remnants of the event still exist on Pineapple Avenue.
Some of the artwork, faded but still visible, has not been cleaned off the streets since the event concluded Nov. 18. While Burns Square businesses say they are appreciative of how the festival went this year, some are wondering when the last traces of the event will be gone.
Denise Kowal, founder of the chalk festival, says the group behind the event is moving forward with plans to clean the streets, and that it shouldn’t be a problem. She added that, by and large, the reception to the artwork and event has been positive.
“We’re still dealing with the same typical people in the neighborhood,” Kowal said. “But overall, the reaction to what was done this year — and the art that still remains — is that most people love it.”
Kowal said she is unaware of any agreement with the city that required a cleaning, but City Manager Tom Barwin said a stipulation of the festival’s event permit was that the streets must be cleaned within 30 days. Barwin said public works was working with the festival to try to ensure the remaining artwork was removed with care.
“We just want to make sure that the pavement isn’t damaged by any removal,” Barwin said. “I think the neighborhood and the city have certainly been collaborative with the festival, trying to leave a viewing period while the art was still clear and high-quality.”
At least one Burns Square tenant backed Kowal’s claim that people appreciate of the lingering art. Nadja Moeller is the owner of Nessentials, located at 532 S. Pineapple Ave.
“It brings people down here that still want to look,” Moeller said. “Some of the art is very beautiful.”
LeeAnne Swor, owner of L Botique and president of the Burns Court Neighborhood Association, said businesses have reached out to her to ask that the streets be cleared. Swor said there was no animosity on the part of the people who requested to remove the artwork.
“We were just wondering when it was going to happen,” Swor said. “It seemed like it was a great party, and people are wondering when it’s going to get cleaned up.”
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