17 September 2005

What's a little chalk dust?

Originally uploaded by Katherine H.
My curiosity was piqued by a small clip in a local newspaper last week. It stated that Forest Grove would be holding its 15th Annual Sidewalk Chalk Art Festival, and anyone was welcome to come and participate. For only $10, you were assigned a 3 x 3 sidewalk block and given a tray of colorful chalk. The rest of the creation was up to the individual.

The ambitious arrived at 9am, although it appeared that a number of participants had just started not too long before I arrived around one o’clock. Some came prepared with sketches or books to guide their illustrations. Others seemed to employ a freestyle approach to the content of their squares. For several, it was a family affair. A number of the participants were students at neighboring Pacific University.

Some pieces conveyed a political or personal belief, while others expressed whimsy with their bright colors beaming up from the sidewalk. A variety of techniques were also evident among the artists. Carpet placed over completed sections of the collage would protect it from smudging, while allowing the artist to sit on top of it to finish hard-to-reach places. Spray bottles and brushes gave wet chalk a new patina. One piece even had a dusting of glitter to enhance its eye-catching appeal.

Drawings were to be finished by 3 pm, and following by an evening Italian-styled passegiata from 4-8 pm during which visitors and community members could stroll along and enjoy the artwork created earlier in the day.

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