The Little Chicago Festival is sadly cancelled for this year, but we can’t let that stop us! On Saturday, August 29 we’re going online and on the road. Instead of just “arting” up the festival in Johnson City, we’re going to the roadsides of the whole Tri-cities to make those unattractive features of our roadside landscape more interesting. All ages are invited to participate in this 5th year of the competition and there are great prizes, from cash to merchandise from our Tri-Cities businesses.

A panel of judges will decide category winners and will select their personal favorites for Judges Choice honors. The public will also get a chance to vote via a social media “Tip Jar” for the People’s Choice award. Artists will be able to select a spot in advance so they can work on their concepts and fabricate parts ahead of time. For last year’s Tiny Art Throwdown artists used chalk, collage, and found objects to create mini-installations which transformed mundane aspects of downtown into imaginative art pieces. Drainpipes, sidewalk cracks, and holes in brick walls came alive with works that demonstrated the talent and depth of our local artists.

“I would love to see this Tiny Street Art Throwdown happen again,” said Tania McCamy. a former Johnson City resident now living in Asheville who produced one of the more interactive pieces in the Throwdown. “I want to support events like this, which push the boundaries in such a positive way. I’m really impressed to see something like this in Johnson City, which is kind of small compared to the other cities where you see things like this happening.”

We hope you and your kids join us this year. This competition is something you can definitely do safely as we navigate the pandemic.

Go to our events page for more information and to enter.

Top picture: Blocks cut to fit a grate make a great interactive play set on the sidewalk of Johnson City, Art installation by Tanya McCamy.

Picture below: Making the most of an old downtown drain pipe. Installation by Gail Oliver.