PANAMA CITY — An interactive arts festival that combines street chalk art installations with live music, art projects, and creative vendors is returning for another year in historic downtown Panama City.
Bay Arts Alliance will hold its second annual Florida Luxe Arts Festival — or FLLuxe — on Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. in the parking lot of Destination Panama City, 101 W. Beach Drive.
On Friday, the Panama City Center for the Arts invites the community to help fill up their parking lot with chalk art butterflies, starting at 9 a.m. All supplies will be on hand, and it’s free to participate.
The Bay Arts Alliance team is adding more fun to this year’s festival, hoping for a bigger and better year. FLLuxe is free, and everyone is encouraged to join the fun with chalk and entertainment.
“After a fantastic first year, we wanted to up our game with some additional elements,” said Jayson Kretzer, Bay Arts Alliance executive director. “So, in addition to adding more street painters, we’ll have family-friendly art projects, more musicians, art cars, and a temporary graffiti wall for folks to try their hand at spray painting.”
The idea of the FLLuxe Arts Festival came to light shortly after Hurricane Michael, Kretzer said. The Bay Arts Alliance team wanted to create a festival that would feature a combination of arts, including murals, chalk art, projections, and live music.
The first festival was scheduled for the spring of 2020, but the COVID-19 pandemic postponed the event a year and scaled it down to an outdoor chalk festival in 2021. Inspired by the names of popular festivals like Bonaroo and Lollapalooza, “FLLuxe” was born with hopes that the brand name was something that would stick with visitors.
“We wanted to have a unique event made specifically for us in the local area because we love color and art,” Kretzer said. “We’re still growing it, so we’re eventually going to get to making it a full arts festival.”
FLLuxe is welcoming more than 25 national and local chalk artists to showcase their talents onto the streets of downtown. In addition, the all-day event will feature food and entertainment from local musicians and dancers, artisanal vendors, local food trucks, and more.
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Four national chalk artists — Naomi Haverland, Anat Ronen, Jan Riggins, and Chris Carlson — will be in attendance to create 3D, interactive pieces for the public to enjoy. They will start a day or two in advance, so the pieces can be completed by the end of the festival.
“We are thrilled to partner with Bay Arts Alliance in bringing back FLLuxe Arts Festival for the second year,” said Jennifer Vigil, president and CEO of Destination Panama City. “We are excited to see the creative genius of our locals and the traveling artists come alive downtown.”
Visitors can enjoy a full day of fun excursions around downtown Panama City with events throughout the day starting at Destination Panama City. For the full schedule, visit www.flluxeartsfestival.com.
4 national artists to showcase talents at FLLuxe
Returning for another year at FLLuxe, Haverland specializes in hyper-realistic portraits and whimsical candid expressions. Her primary focus is on candid and exaggerated human expression, often using children and senior citizens as her reference models. In addition, she hopes to add humor and levity to her realistic style through unexpected pop icons and props. She also relies heavily on eye contact between the art subject and viewer to engage her audience. She has been painting murals with paint for 15 years and with chalk for eight years. Haverland has won numerous awards for her chalk art, including seven awards at the Denver Chalk Art.
Ronen is a self-taught artist residing in Houston, Texas. She became a professional artist in her late 30s following a decision she made with her family to emigrate from Israel to the U.S. Now, 12 years after becoming a full-time artist as a way to stay in this country, she has created hundreds of pieces across the U.S. and beyond and, most importantly, discovered her true calling. In addition to her mural work, Ronen participates in international street painting and street art festivals nationwide and worldwide. She is a multi-disciplinary artist and loves to share her gift with the world.
Starting as a musician, Riggins is a largely self-taught artist living in Fort Worth, Texas. She grew up around artists as her mother painted every Christmas card by hand, and her grandmother filled all of her family’s houses with her paintings. After college, Riggins began working a full-time job and found that she missed creating. She realized she had a definite need to “create.” In March 2020, Riggins and her daughter began chalking on their driveway and sidewalk. This soon became a nightly activity, and they enjoyed choosing different themes and subjects to explore. They mainly work at their house, but as they find time, they also chalk for neighbors and local businesses.
Carlson, also a returning artist, has been studying anamorphic 3D perspective (the special perspective that allows a drawing to pop off the pavement) for more than 10 years. He has traveled around the world, studying with masters and creating artwork in front of thousands of people. In this time, Carlson has developed his unique style. He has created artwork for national advertising campaigns with Fortune 500 companies. He also has won multiple “Best 3-D” awards at sidewalk chalk art competitions around the country. Carlson continues to push his limits and the art form to new levels.