ArtWalk fest hits Little Italy

San Diego’s largest urban arts festival took place for the 26th year in a row — The Mission Federal ArtWalk welcomed more than 100,000 visitors to the streets of Little Italy April 25 and 26.

Over 300 artists, mostly local, set up their work in tents. They showcased their best pieces and most were in attendance, eager to share their inspirations.

Some painters, like Michael Summers, spent the weekend creating a piece from a blank canvas.

“I put in at least 18 hours on this piece,” Summers commented. And although by Sunday afternoon the work looked almost complete, Summers replied with a smile, “I probably have about 18 more to go.”

Original five-by-five canvases ranged from $8,000 to replica four-by-six cards for $10. Many attendees took advantage of the art for sale and tourists were heard discussing how they were going to ship their art back home. Approximately $1 million worth of artwork is purchased every year during the event, according to festival affiliates.

Most of the artists were available to meet. They were ready to share their experiences and answer any questions. ArtWalk regulars were even found star struck amongst their favorite local artists and had the opportunity to take photos and get autographs.

For many artists it was a chance to be seen in the public eye. They were heard promoting their work and encouraging spectators to visit their Web sites for more samples.

Not every artist had the chance to participate in the festival. Months prior to the event, artist applications were reviewed by a selection committee.

“(The committee) strive(s) to ensure that visitors have access to the best fine art experience possible,” stated the website used by artists to apply.

Mixed media, sculptures, jewelry, glass blowing and an array of canvas visual art flooded the streets of Little Italy. Each booth presented a new vision and different styles were scattered all throughout the Walk.

The two-day festival also includes live music from 6 different stages, food vendors and an area of art and entertainment for kids.

ArtReach, launched in 2007, brings together artists with teaching skills and local school students to promote arts-education programs. The kid-themed inspired art encouraged families to practice creative thinking.

The event welcomes people of all ages and backgrounds to immerse themselves in culture. Dates for ArtWalk 2011 can be found at Also, Sept. 18 and 19 2010 the Hilton San Diego Bayfront Park will host another ArtWalk event.

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ArtWalk fest hits Little Italy