Jeanie Burns saw street painting for the first time as an art history student living in Italy. She now works as a freelance graphic designer in West Palm Beach and participated in her first street painting festival in nearby Lake Worth in 1996. After that initiation, she was "bitten by the street painting bug” and hooked. In the years since, her work has generated growing recognition and has been featured prominently in local media coverage of the event. She has expanded her participation to many other street painting events and exhibitions throughout Florida, California, and New York City, and returned to Italy to participate in the international competition held in Grazie di Curtatone.
More often than any other question I hear when working on a piece, “isn’t it hard to leave it here on the pavement after you’ve worked so long on it?” And the simplest answer is no. Street painting is essentially a performance-based art form, similar to music or theatre. Its impermanence is part of its appeal for me. I take photographs to record the image, but once it’s done, I move on and look forward to the next one.
Typically people see art displayed as a finished piece hanging in a gallery or on a wall. Street painting allows viewers to see it in a way they may never have seen it presented — and conveniently, right at their feet. They’re able to watch a chalk painting gradually emerge and interact with the artists. It can inspire young artists to try their hand as they watch an experienced artist demonstrate techniques in front of them, or to develop an appreciation and curiosity for a particular artist or historic painting.
I believe art helps us experience the world around us. It enriches, it helps us express ourselves, it fosters imagination, it communicates. And accessibility to art -- in all forms -- is a step toward that. I commend your community for its support of this type of creative cultural experience. It demonstrates a willingness to bring art to the area in an unconventional format, but by the time it’s over, I hope you’ll agree the appeal is universal.