Pavement Portals Is Bringing Interactive Sidewalk Art to St. Louis


Chalk Riot artists at work. - CHANDLER BRANCH
  • Chalk Riot artists at work.
In these divided times there are still things that we can all enjoy. Pavement Portals, the latest art project by Chalk Riot, combines two of them: art and staring at your phone.

Chalk Riot artists Chelsea Ritter-Soronen and Liza Fishbone collaborated on Pavement Portals, which is part sidewalk mural, part virtual reality art piece. “It’s a pretty new format,” Ritter-Soronen says, and one that she hopes “expands St. Louis’ art scene.”

Pavement Portals is unique in that, in addition to physical art, which is created on a die-cut canvas placed atop pavement, there is a downloadable Chalk Riot Mobile App. When viewed through your phone, the 3-D chalk murals will move and interact with you, thanks to animations by tech company Heavy Projects.

The project is backed by Art Saint Louis, the non-profit contemporary visual arts presenter. Chalk Riot and Art Saint Louis have been partnered “for almost five years,” Ritter-Soronen says, but this is the first piece that has incorporated any sort of digital art within it.

“We have been working hard in the areas of overlap between art and technology,” says Chandler Branch, director of Art Saint Louis. “I think this will give rise to many other ideas that we would like to pursue, that are found in the merger of these two different realms, VR and pavement art."

“It transforms the space in a unique way,” Branch explains. “It’s an extension of our mission to serve the community through the work of local artists.”

“We are excited to bring it into the public art world,” Fishbone says.

Pavement Portals debuts Thursday, May 24 from 3 to 8 p.m., at Venture Cafe (4240 Duncan Avenue, #200). The work then moves to the Saint Louis Science Center (5050 Oakland Avenue), on Saturday, June 1, from 6 to 10 p.m.

It will remain at the Science Center until June 15. Chalk Riot's official Instagram can be found here.

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