Properties & Leasing

Chalk Festival brings color and crowds to Westlake Shopping Center

Posted by: Brad Freeman Brad Freeman
on October 29, 2015

While our Westlake Shopping Center, located in Daly City, California, is no stranger to events, our recent festival might be the most inventive yet. We frequently host shopper and seasonal events at the center, and this year we decided to come up with a new event that will tie in the city’s culture with a fun activity for families.

The result was the inaugural Westlake Chalk Festival, which turned the spotlight onto local chalk artists who transformed the shopping center’s main drag into a canvas of extraordinary life-size art while customers watched their creations take form.

Leading off the event was Melanie Stimmell Van Latum, who is a Maestra Madonnara (master street painter). Melanie has been street painting for the past 14 years and is the only woman ever to hold this prestigious street painting title in two countries: Italy and Germany. She has quite the interesting backstory, spending eight years working as a Lead Technical Director on the popular TV show South Park and its accompanying movie.

We were excited for her to participate as she gives back to the local community in addition to her art. Serving on the education roster for the Orange County Performing Arts Center and the Performing Arts Center of Los Angeles County, she has led workshops and residencies in Italian street painting and oil painting, and introduced the first elementary school oil painting class throughout Southern California. When she began receiving requests for street painting workshops at schools in other states and countries, Melanie developed the Street Painting Academy, through which she offers students of all ages the opportunity to learn this 500-year-old Italian tradition.

We partnered with Melanie, the Academy, and her affiliate company, We Talk Chalk, to source local artists to come and draw a masterpiece of their own creation. About 20 artists participated, with creations ranging from portraits, flamingos, popular cartoon characters, wildlife, and other flights of fancy.

This year’s artists included another Maestra Madonnara Genna Panzarella, Joel Yau, Lisa Jones, Lyndsey Anne Morel, Victoria Padilla, Lori Mikuls, Lury Norris, Naomi Duben, Matthew Gallelli, Marlon Yanes, Spence Snyder, Rick Madera, and Jarred Mendoza.

To get the word out, we implemented a multi-faceted campaign to drive shoppers to Westlake. Signage was installed throughout the shopping center and in tenant windows. We also ran local ads, sent out a media alert to regional event calendars, and distributed an e-blast to our mailing list. If visitors showed their ads at the event, they were given an extra spin on the spin-to-win wheel.

The event was a huge success, with approximately 1,500 people attending. To encourage families and others to participate, an area was designated as the ‘kid zone’ to teach kids how to create their own chalk art. Other activities at the festival included face painting, a balloon artist, and shoppers trying their luck with a spin-to-win prize wheel featuring retailer prizes, special offers, and gift cards. Retailers got into the action as well. Tables lined the street featuring promotions and samples. Live entertainment, free coffee, and hot cocoa got attendees into the fall spirit.

A chalk festival was the perfect way to kick off the fall and holiday shopping season at Westlake. Our next planned event for the center is a Holiday Open House on December 5, which is our annual signature event that includes photos with Santa, live entertainment, and a 50-ton real snow play area, among other activities. Check back here for additional recaps of our fun fall events throughout our portfolio!

Westlake Shopping Center Chalk Festival


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