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Chalk art fest to showcase past and future of Bishop Ranch

Professional artists come to San Ramon for live art event that also features young local talent
City Center began hosting chalk artists during the summer months in 2021 and 2022, with this year set to mark the first full-scale festival celebrating and featuring live chalk art.

City Center Bishop Ranch is set to host a live art event aimed at providing participants an opportunity to see art created before their eyes, and to travel back and forward in time through the history and planned future of the area.

The Live Art Chalk Festival is returning to City Center this weekend, with this year's event aiming to be bigger than ever after smaller versions last year and in 2021.

"We started this after the height of COVID and since everything is outdoors at City Center, it was a welcome break for our guests," City Center general manager Jennifer Gordon said.

During the past two years, the event has consisted of a handful of artists drawing live chalk art at the shopping center on a monthly basis during the summer, with this year's iteration serving as the first full-scale, day-long festival with all artists in attendance.

"This is the first year we decided to put on a festival and have all 10 professional artists participate at the same time," Gordon said.

The lineup this year includes two Bay Area artists as well as one from the other side of the globe, plus a number of young local artists from the San Ramon Valley Unified School District.

Lisa Jones, based in Sydney, Australia, is a prolific artist working with a range of media in an effort to showcase the way cities and the people who live in them impact each other, as well as other hidden and overlooked patterns.

"Her art practice explores the relationship of cities with human interactions, activated through trace elements of associated hidden networks," Jones' artist's biography said. "Her multi-layered works make sense of incongruities, to reveal and merge incompatible ideas from the chaos and structures of everyday experience."

Two other featured artists hail from closer to home, with Clifton Gold and Joe Mandrick having showcased their works across the Bay Area throughout their careers.

"I'm based in the San Francisco Bay Area, and I bring my original designs to life at chalk art festivals and special events across the country," Gold said on his website.

Mandrick, who also works as a programmer in San Jose, said that his day job serves as inspiration for his artistic work rather than a distraction.

"It may seem odd to have such divergent passions but they complement each other quite well and provide balance in my life," Mandrick said on his website. "Painting provides me the tranquility and freedom to create without boundaries. Electronics provides me structure and organization to create something that can interact with the world."

All 10 artists at the upcoming festival are set to focus on exploring the history of Bishop Ranch, as well as visions for its future as the central downtown core of San Ramon as the young city grows and leaders seek to bring it to the forefront of 21st century technology.

"In addition to having all the artists here at once, we will feature many historic icons from San Ramon Valley and Bishop Ranch's past such as drawings of the Old Tassajara School House and a train engine, representing the Iron Horse Trail," Gordon said.

The Art and Chalk Festival is scheduled from 1-4 p.m. on Saturday (May 20) and Sunday (May 21) at City Center. More information is available here.


About the Author: Jeanita Lyman

Jeanita joined the Pleasanton Weekly in September 2020 and covers the Danville and San Ramon beat. She studied journalism at Skyline College and Mills College while covering the Peninsula for the San Mateo Daily Journal, returning to the area in 2013.
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