Chelsea Chalk Artists Are Making Marks Across The USA

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From Bridget Favre

Four years ago, Shelley and Dave Brenner discovered chalk painting through a local chalk art competition in their hometown of Chelsea, Michigan. Since that time they have participated in a variety of chalk events throughout the United States and have enjoyed sharing their love of chalk art as a featured artists.  On July 29 they return to the Chelsea Chalk Art Contest, not as competitors, but rather to showcase a large 3D chalk illusion.


“We were at Chelsea’s Sounds & Sights Festival in 2014 and decided to check out the Chalk Art Contest.  The street was covered with bold paintings and Shelley and I could not help but pick up some chalk and start drawing.  Since then we have been hooked,” said Dave Brenner.

The couple has since participated in over 20 street painting festivals including the International Chalk Fest in Venice, Florida, the Street Painting Festival in Lake Worth, Florida, the Arbor Lakes Chalkfest in Minnesota, and the Chalktoberfest in Georgia. This summer they were recently featured artists at their first international event, Cambridge International Street Art Festival, in Ontario, Canada.

A lifelong artist, Shelley began her higher education with a fine arts scholarship at Wayne State University in Detroit, MI.  Today she works as a Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist.  In her free time, in addition to street painting, she enjoys working in both large scale as a muralist and small scale as a botanical illustrator.

Originally from Fairbanks, Alaska, Dave Brenner holds a BFA in painting and a BA in theater from the University of Alaska – Fairbanks.  He is now the Creative Director at the University of Michigan School for Environment and Sustainability. His fine art and photography has been featured at multiple venues throughout Alaska and the Midwest. Dave discovered that his dual passions for painting and acting translated seamlessly into street painting. He loves to bring images to life in large scale while engaging with interested passersby.

“As much fun as we have traveling and meeting new artists from across the country, there is no place like home, and Chelsea’s Chalk Art Contest holds a special place in our hearts.  We are thrilled to be the featured artists this year,” commented Dave Brenner. The two have resided in Chelsea with their 11-year-old twin daughters for ten years.

Growing with the chalk art trend, the Sounds and Sights Festival will hold its fifth Chelsea Chalk Art Contest during its line-up of activities on Saturday, July 29, 2017.  Participants of all abilities and ages are encouraged to help transform the concrete below the iconic Chelsea Clocktower, located at 310 North Main Street, into vibrant colors and works of art from 8am until 4pm.  Chelsea Area Festivals & Events will award over $1,000 across 11 contest categories.

Event details and registration forms can be found at

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Seth Kinker

Reporter/Digital Media for The Sun Times News

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