Street Painting Festival

The Street Painting Festival, held annually, provides scholarships for Roane State Community College students. This Festival is an exciting opportunity for artists to display their talents in chalk art, with awards given to the festival winners.

More than 60 artists participated in the 16th Oak Ridge Street Painting Festival last October, which raised over $12,000 for scholarships from 37 sponsors, bringing the total raised over the past 15 years to $221,000 for over 110 scholarships. Many of the scholarship winners have visited our club meetings after they have completed their studies to tell us what a difference this opportunity made in their lives since without it, they would not have been able to afford to go to college.

Knoxville Catholic High School received a first-place award and the People’s Choice Award in 2016.

Click here to view all of last year’s art.

“The festival also reflects Rotary’s belief that supporting our youth and future leaders will create positive and lasting changes in their lives, our community and the world,” said Jenifer Campbell, president of the Rotary Club of Oak Ridge.

These students graduated from high school a few years ago, so they are not eligible for scholarships provided by the state of Tennessee. The festival has raised more than $210,000 over the past 15 years for 100 scholarships.

“These scholarships have made a huge difference in the lives of adults who could not otherwise have afforded a college education,” said Melinda Hillman, chair of the Rotary club’s Street Painting Festival committee, former executive director of the Roane State Foundation, and vice president of RSCC’s Oak Ridge and satellite campuses.

“The festival funds have contributed to educating East Tennessee’s future work force, helping to attract new businesses and improving the local economy,” said Bill Martin, past president of the Rotary Club of Oak Ridge who initiated the organization of the first Oak Ridge Street Painting Festival in 2000.

The festival raises scholarship funds through sponsors — people who “buy” sidewalk squares that the artists paint with colored chalk or support a larger feature such as the Children’s Tent.

Professional and amateur artists of all ages and teams of artists from schools and various youth organizations are encouraged to participate in the festival. Chalk and other art supplies are provided for free. The public is invited to view and photograph the “chalk paintings” and the artists at work.

During the festival day music will be performed, refreshments will be available for sale at the Roane State cafeteria, and activities for children will be under way.