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A man reeling in a vivid and bright tropical fish. A cowboy standing on the edge of a cliff. These are just a few of the works that can be seen at the 11th annual Chalk Art Festival at The Gateway.

The annual event, held along Rio Grande Street, is a benefit for the 2,600 Utah children in foster care. Although artists can draw whatever they choose, the theme for the festival is "Best of the West."

The festival opened Friday and continues Saturday from 10 am until 9 p.m. The artwork will remain through 6 p.m. on Sunday for Father's Day. On Saturday, attendees can vote by text for their favorite artist.

Deborah Linder, communications manager for Utah Foster Care Foundation, said 140 artists are participating.

"We have the most artists that we have had," she said. Last year, the event raised approximately $15,000.

On Friday afternoon, Steve Platt, a veteran chalk artist from Washington state, was drawing a replica of Charles Marion Russell's "The Bison Trail."

"I've always kind of had a soft place in my heart for kids," said Platt, a teacher for 34 years. "It's just a great organization and one that I think is worthy of my time and effort."

Symea Rosales, a chalk artist from California, has participated in the Utah festival for three years as well as several festivals in California, where artists must draw on asphalt instead of concrete.

"It's a whole different feel," she said. "This is actually kind of harder to draw on. It doesn't accept it as well."

Rosales, who was drawing a woman in a large hat, said she begins the process by researching different art pieces she wants to imitate. She usually ends up selecting a pastel because it is easier to blend.

This was Whitney Lunt's seventh festival. The Orem resident chose to draw a little girl holding balloons and feeding a giraffe. "Kids like bright colors, and they always love to come and see something that is cartoon like," she said. While the cause is the primary reason Lunt participates, she does it for other reasons, too. "It lets you be creative and meet people at the same time." —

Chalk Art Festival

When • Continues Saturday, 10 a.m. to 9 p.m.

Where • Rio Grande Street in The Gateway

Cost • Free

Details • Artwork will remain on Rio Grande Street through 6 p.m. on Sunday, Attendees can vote by text for their favorite artist on Saturday.

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