Painting comes alive with 3-D chalk art exhibit

Telegraph correspondentMarch 16, 2012 

The street under Tracy Lee Stum seemed to be melting away. Bystanders watched as the artist transformed the road before their eyes.

Stum wasn’t distraught as her works of art appeared to fall into a large hole -- it was all part of her larger interactive painting.

This year, the award-winning artist will bring her unique style of three-dimensional street painting to the Cherry Blossom Festival, where she will be creating one of her signature, interactive pieces. This will be Stum’s first appearance at the festival.

“This year is our 30th anniversary and we always like to have new and interesting components for a larger anniversary,” said Stacy Campbell, director of sales and marketing for the Cherry Blossom Festival.

Stum will begin creating her piece Monday in the concrete area leading into the Georgia Sports Hall of Fame. She will work through Wednesday.

“She’ll work during the days,” Campbell said. “There will be a tent over her while she’s working.”

The area also will be roped off until the painting is completed Wednesday.

“That’s when people can actually get in and interact with it,” Campbell said.

The details of Stum’s piece will be revealed as painting begins. Campbell said the design will be a collaboration of ideas from Stum and Cherry Blossom Festival organizers.

“We want it to have an identity for the community as well,” Campbell said.

Stum currently holds a Guiness World Record in largest chalk painting by one artist for her 1996 reproduction of “The Last Supper.” The 34-foot-wide by 17-foot-high painting was part of a publicity event for the DVD release of “The Da Vinci Code.”

Formerly a mural painter, Stum moved almost exclusively into street painting more than 10 years ago. She does some two-dimensional painting but works primarily on three-dimensional pieces that allow bystanders to become a part of the artwork.

“They complete the piece,” Stum said of the people who come out to see her work. “The painting is not really complete until the person gets in there. ... A lot of people can’t wait to get in the painting. I’ve had instances where I just can’t hold back the crowd.”

She works almost exclusively in chalk pastels, which are very susceptible to rain and wind.

“Pastel chalk is not really a stable medium,” Stum said. “The minute you start working, the painting is already deteriorating. You really have to learn to let go of the expectation of a finished piece.”

Stum said she’s been in situations where a painting is nearly complete and it starts to rain.

“It’s not really something you can hang on to ... it’s an experience,” Stum said.

Stum’s piece will be located near the Cherry Plaza Stage for the street party with hopes it will last through the festival. But, festival organizers have plans to preserve Stum’s work.

“We’re actually going to have a local film crew doing documentary style filming of her working,” Campbell said.

The Cherry Blossom Festival also will be Stum’s first festival appearance in Georgia.

“I haven’t been to Macon before, so I’m looking forward to it,” she said.

3-D Chalk Art Exhibit

When: Watch the work in progress during the day Monday-Wednesday. Interact with the completed piece Wednesday-March 24.

Where: In front of the Georgia Sports Hall of Fame, 301 Cherry St.

Cost: Free


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