The 39th annual Savannah College of Art and Design Sidewalk Arts Festival, the university’s oldest tradition, was digitally reimagined this year to put student and alumni artwork on virtual display.

The first-ever digital signature event was open to students and alumni from around the world. Suwanee native and current SCAD student Ivy Wu was among the nine winners selected this year.

Wu received the SCAD Student Spirit Award for her piece, called “Love in a Circle.” The SCAD Student Spirit award recognizes artwork that embodies the attributes of the SCAD community and unites the global SCAD community.

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“I was thrilled,” she said. “I still can’t believe it’s true. I did not expect the good luck when I entered the competition. There are so many excellent submissions from creative SCAD students and alumni. I am grateful to all the judges who love my work.”

The nine winners were decided by arts and culture leaders including sci-fi and fantasy artist Donato Giancola, Whitewall Magazine Senior Editor Eliza Jordan, and famed fine artist and SCAD alumnus José Parlá.

The festival featured a new social media-selected category and a virtual gallery. In continuing with social distancing practices, the Sidewalk Arts Festival, traditionally a chalkart event in Forsyth Park in the heart of Savannah, accepted all forms of 2D media.

Wu said it took her about three weeks to create her piece.

“We are experiencing an extraordinary pandemic in which we are seeking for more love and support from family, friends and ourselves,” she said. “Therefore, I started to work on a series of paintings entitled ‘LOVE IN COVID-19’ in March.”

She said the first piece in the series, “Love in Circle,” is based on a true story of a young couple in New York who expressed their love under the social distancing circumstances. Wu said she personally spoke with the man in the story about details such as the flowers he chose, the color of their clothes, etc.

Wu’s second and third paintings are titled “Ballerina’s Spring 2020” and “Self Portrait in Quarantine.”

“In ‘Ballerina,’ I am depicting the love to art,” Wu said. “The ballerina is supposed to dance on the stage this spring; however, she is still demonstrating her love to art at the balcony in the quarantine state. In ‘Self Portrait’, I’m thinking about the change and distancing the pandemic brings to people’s relationship, the isolation and fragility that individual feels, and the continuous inner sense of love.”

Wu said she thinks think art is a simple part of everyone’s lives.

“I feel lucky to be an artist and I am happiest when I am completely focused on painting,” she said. “When I’m painting, there is a moment at which I am not thinking about anything. I’m completely focused on the work itself. When I’m painting a figure, I feel as if I’m sharing the same space as the elements in real life.”

The signature event kicked off April 24 at Candler Hospital, where SCAD artists created chalk art as a thank you to Savannah health care professionals.

On May 9, SCAD artists honored Atlanta’s health care heroes with chalk art at Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta at Hughes Spalding Hospital.

As they created their works of art, the artists practiced social distancing and wore masks and gloves to keep themselves and hospital workers safe.

“SCAD Sidewalk Arts Festival has long been a treasured community event highlighting the expertise and creativity of SCAD students and alumni, some of whom have been coming home to SCAD to create chalk masterpieces for decades,” SCAD President and Founder Paula Wallace said. “We’re pleased that with ingenuity, creativity and invention, our magnificent festival can move from the squares to the screen.”

Wu’s artwork can be found on her website, www.ivywuART.com. To view the virtual gallery, visit scad.edu/sidewalkarts.

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