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In Lake Worth, Ephemeral Street Art Is The Year's Biggest Event

Bill McCaffrey was inspired by his friend's recent cruise. He painted her here with the Titanic background.

Artist Bill McCaffrey took 15 hours to complete a chalk painting of a Titanic scene on the street in Lake Worth, before the rain came and washed it away. But that's OK with him.

"The longer I do street art, I become less possessive of my work," he says. "You learn to let it go."

McCaffrey was one of the featured artists at the Lake Worth Street Painting Festival, in which he has participated for 17 years.

The two-day festival drew a crowd of nearly 100,000 people to the small town over the weekend.

Four hundred artists painted up main downtown streets Lake and Lucerne avenues, illustrating film scenes and movie stars. Film was the theme for the 20th year. Artists from across Florida, California and New York drew tirelessly starting on Friday afternoon and throughout the weekend as passerby observed.

It rained Saturday evening and mid-afternoon on Sunday. In the crowd an attendee lamented: "It rains every year. It's a curse!" Many of the artists were prepared with plastic sheets to cover up their pieces. The rain spotted and dulled the drawings left uncovered, but the crowd continued to swarm about with umbrellas in hand. 

In between flashes of rain, Boynton Beach resident and artist Amber Tutwiler said Lake Worth's CRA provides its artist residents with a lot of support. She described the area as "beachy like Key West but with a huge hipster scene."

Her friend Chanimal, a body painter, said the chalk festival is the town's biggest event, just after the annual reggae festival. He said the visual-arts scene is small in comparison to the live-music goings-on.

"You can hear live music every night here," he says. "A lot of punk and underground bands play here. And for bands that are starting out, this is the place."

Credit Andrea Richard
Jay Bellicchi, Trek 6, Ruben Ubiera (from left to right) took their skills to the wall at Bruce Webber Gallery.

Over by the Bruce Webber Gallery on Lucerne Avenue, three street artists were spraying away on a canvas mounted to the wall outside. Trek 6, the man behind the Boombox building in Wynwood, said city code ordinances didn't allow him and two other artists to paint directly on the wall, so the canvas was a nice workaround. 

A throng watched in awe as they worked away. 

The weekend wrapped up with families strolling leisurely back to their cars, and others huddled underneath awnings as the rain drizzled down. 

That's a wrap.