Cycle Sonic

The Squonk Opera will bring Cycle Sonic, a dynamic adventure of eclectic music and whimsical, moving figures. 

As the days slowly get shorter and autumn approaches, so does one of the city’s most popular fall events; Chalk the Block will once again liven up Downtown Oct. 6-8.

The free arts and culture festival is going big for its 10-year anniversary, bringing installations from artist as well known as Yoko Ono. (Yes, the Japanese artist/activist who married John Lennon.)

Let’s take a gander at what’s to come:

Cycle Sonic by Squonk Opera (Pittsburgh)

Imagine giant, fantasy-like figures on bicycles cycling to the backdrop of a rockin’ live band – or don’t imagine it and just watch the video above. The original compositions include a hodgepodge of bagpipes, electric guitars, drums and keys that would wow just about any music lover. Add trippy large-scale visuals of legs and wheels and you’ve got a formula for an experience that makes you feel like you’re in a Beatles-era music video.

Wish Tree by Yoko Ono (New York)

Yoko Ono's Wishing Tree

Through the Wish Tree, Chalk the Block attendees will have a chance to contribute to a monument to John Lennon and his legacy of promoting peace. Visitors tie their wishes to a tree, and after the festival, those wishes will be sent to Iceland’s Imagine Peace Tower, a white stone monument that projects a giant tower of light. The tower will be lit from Oct. 9 to Dec. 8, the dates of Lennon’s birth and death, respectively.

Life Cube by Scott Cohen (New York)

Life Cube by Scott Cohen

Prompting attendees to contribute to the large-scale piece, the Life Cube Project invites participants to reflect on their past, present and future by writing and illustrating their thoughts and goals. The concept is based on the Cohen’s belief that “if you write down what you want to accomplish in life, the chances of attaining it are much, much higher.”

Spheres of Influence by Curime Batliner and Jake Newsum (Los Angeles)

A robotic device from the Swiss mechatronics company Stäubli will paint lines that depict “lifelines of the city” inside large transparent spheres. The installation was originally created for the Mextropoli Festival in Mexico City.

Art on the Move by Kalavera Culture Shop (El Paso)

Sun Metro bus at Chalk the Block

A "Border Youth" mural led by El Paso artist Mitsu Overstreet during 2011's Chalk the Block

Bringing back a festival favorite, a group of street artists will beautify a Sun Metro bus that will be added to one of the metro’s routes. Renowned muralist Jesus “Cimi” Alvarado opened Kalavera Kulture Shop earlier this year, which you can read more about here.

Organized by the Museums and Cultural Affairs Department and the El Paso Community Foundation, Chalk the Block has grown from a chalk art festival with 12 artists to more than 200 artists and vendors. Festivalgoers will also get to enjoy dozens of sidewalk chalk pieces and murals by local artists as well as food trucks and kids' activities.

Live music is also a part of the annual festival, and this year will include an eclectic lineup of local acts: Fixed Idea, Frontera Bugalu, Gila Monster, Sha'Vonne, Brandon Bailey Johnson and Sonido Cachimbo.

For more info, visit