PICTURED: “We Love You California!” by Lysa Ashley. Photo courtesy of Susan Bejeckian

Every September, sidewalks, patios and open spaces around Ventura Harbor Village burst into color thanks to the Ventura Art and Street Painting Festival. Dozens of artists show up with their pastels, sun hats, umbrellas and kneepads, spending hours crafting their extraordinary murals while visitors look on. There’s usually live music, craft vendors and sidewalk spots for “rent” where attendees can make their own art.

COVID-19 put the kibosh on this year’s festival, but the Village found a way to bring a touch of the creative spirit this past weekend.

“California Bear” by Randall Williams. Photo courtesy of Susan Bejeckian

The California Love Art Weekend took place Sept. 12-13 with featured artists Lysa Ashley and Randall Williams. The majestic bear and wave created by Williams, known for his portrait paintings as well as street art, graces the area in front of La Petit Cafe. Ashley, a festival regular and fan favorite, created a bear embracing the state, surrounded by bright California poppies. It can be found near Top This Chocolate and Ventura Dive and Sport. Both artists came by over the weekend to work on their pieces. 

Between wildfires and the pandemic, our state could use a little love these days. The chalk art celebrating California won’t last, but the Golden State itself will surely endure.