Grounded beauty: The Reno Chalk Art and Music Festival returns to the Atlantis—under new management

Reno is chock-full of artistic events and increasingly creative creatives—and in the case of one upcoming festival, you could say the city is also chalk-full!

The Reno Chalk Art and Music Festival is returning to showcase hundreds of fascinating displays of sidewalk-chalk art with competitions, music, vendors and a kids’ zone. The event takes place Friday, Aug. 25, through Sunday, Aug. 27, in the west parking lot of the Atlantis Casino Resort Spa.

Earlier this year, Liquid Blue Events announced it would be taking over the Reno Chalk Art and Music Festival. During a recent interview with Liquid Blue’s co-owner and co-founder, Jess Horning shared how and why the company is producing the event.

“We (Liquid Blue Events) produce quite a few events around the region in Northern Nevada and California,” Horning said. “We either do the events from A to Z, or do the marketing for them. The Atlantis reached out to us for the Chalk Art Fest, because they started the event just two years ago, and it’s grown so much that they don’t necessarily have the staffing and structure in place to continue to maintain the event at the size that it is.”

Horning and the team at Liquid Blue Events are well aware of how much locals love the unique art festival.

“We’ve seen all the videos and talked to quite a few people, and we know that it is a very popular event in the Northern Nevada community,” Horning said. “We can just tell on social media—the interactions that we get are very organic, and people definitely look forward to the event. It’s really different and unique compared to a lot of other events in the area.”

Horning said no major changes are being made to the festival.

“The most important thing is to maintain the integrity of the event,” Horning said. “They’ve done such a good job growing it to where it is, and we want to learn, so we’re working hand in hand with the event to get used to the event. There are not a lot of huge changes that we’re making in regards to the event itself, other than we’re enhancing our vendor areas quite a bit.”

Attendees can expect more, however—more art, more music and more tastes.

Rachael Robertson and Melanie Walker won the Best Replica of a Masterpiece category in 2022 for “Battling an Octopus” (cropped), originally by Henry Luhrs.

“We are bringing in 70 to 100-plus craft vendors that will not only allow people to enjoy the art and peruse the art around the parking lot at their own leisure, but they can also shop a variety of different craft jewelry, clothing and arts vendors that will be available at the event itself,” Horning said. “In addition to that, we are adding a craft beer and seltzer tasting experience to the event. … We’re enhancing the music a little bit to where we’re bringing new acts every day, so we’re going to have 12 different acts that will play over the course of three days, with a headliner on Friday and Saturday night.”

Of course, there’s the art—and nearly 200 artists ranging in skill, approach, technique will take part. As of this writing, the festival is still accepting student, individual and team applications—and it’s free to apply.

“We want it to grow,” Horning said. “We get over 180 artists that will be coming. They are allowed to apply online, and they do submit some of their work or an idea of what they’re going to actually be drawing. There is some vetting there, just to make sure that the art is appropriate and not offensive or anything like that. We’re pretty open to any and all forms of art in a sense that it could be something that’s very detailed, or something that’s very opaque. We’re not really picky on the quality of the art; we just want to make sure the subject is family oriented.”

Artists will be competing for awards in categories including Best 3-D, Best Use of Color and Best Reproduction, as well as the People’s Choice award.

“The artists are really important to the events, and we want to be able to make sure that they’re taken care of,” Horning said. “We provide all the chalk, and we provide them water, drinks, shirts, a comfortable environment and shade. We make sure that they have a good environment to work within, so taking care of them and hosting them is important to us.”

There is an admission fee for the first time this year. Horning explained why.

“The reason that it’s $10 is because it’s no longer owned and operated by the Atlantis,” Horning said. “By having the 12 musicians and the artists out there, the money is there to support those acts. The only way to actually have the events is to be able to make sure that there’s a prize pool for the artists, and that we’re able to actually afford to be able to bring in the music that makes the atmosphere so great at this event.”

The Reno Chalk Art and Music Festival will take place Friday, Aug. 25, through Sunday, Aug. 27, in the west parking lot of the Atlantis Casino Resort Spa, 3800 S. Virginia St. Tickets are $10 for a three-day pass; and $40 for festival entry plus the craft beer and hard seltzer tasting. For tickets, more information, or to apply to be an artist, visit