Chalk this one up to the COVID-19 pandemic. Chalk art has become a mainstay of Wheat Ridge's annual RidgeFest. But with the status of large social gatherings up in the air and city residents in need …
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Chalk this one up to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Chalk art has become a mainstay of Wheat Ridge's annual RidgeFest. But with the status of large social gatherings up in the air and city residents in need of socially-distancing friendly fun to have around town this summer, the Wheat Ridge Cultural Commission and Wheat Ridge Localworks have decided to continue the city's chalk art tradition in a new way this year.
Enter Chalk the Town, a pop-up chalk art town that will see volunteers creating businesses to enjoy on the weeks of June 14, July 12 and August 9.
Localworks Executive Director Kate Cooke said the event is being viewed, in part, as a way to attract people to businesses in the community that have been hit hard by the pandemic.
“For the last several years we've been putting on the chalk art at Ridgefest and when COVID-19 happened and our restaurants and businesses were shut down we started brainstorming different ways to engage the community and capitalize on the momentum that's been created by recent community conversations about art and artists in Wheat Ridge and what's authentic to Wheat Ridge.”
Businesses and volunteers can visit wearelocalworks.org/chalk-of-the-town and choose which month they'd like to participate by completing the online form https://wearelocalworks.org/chalk-of-the-town/. Volunteers will be provided with the chalk, tape, and a few easy templates. However, they can also create their own design if they chose.
Each month a map of chalk art pieces will be released. Cooke said Localworks is also working on hiring a professional artist to create one piece for each of the three weeks.
Gay Porter DeNileon, a member of the Wheat Ridge Cultural Commission, said the commission chose to sponsor the chalk art event in part because chalk art is something artistically unique that amateurs can do.
“The ephemeral nature of chalk art I think makes it a little more fun to go see here because it's here today gone tomorrow and really hard and it takes more immediacy for the viewer,” said Porter DeNileon.
Cooke said Localworks is also working on putting together other fun summer events, including a scavenger hunt and a walking tour of public art pieces in the city, and that the art created for Chalk of the Town could also be woven into those events.
Some in town got a preview of what Chalk of the Town will be like when artist Olivia McCleod created a chalk art image of a fox in a fantasy forest at the Wheat Ridge Recreation Center on May 30.
The fox greeted the children participating in the city's summer camp program, Sun Camp, on June 1. Those students will have the opportunity to add their own chalk art designs to McCleod's using supplies paid for by a corporate donor grant to the Wheat Ridge Foundation. That grant will also be used to pay the professional artists who will create pieces for chalk on the town.
Cooke said Chalk of the Town could also continue after 2020 depending on its popularity.
Chalk of the Town
Volunteers and professional artists will create chalk art pieces outside local businesses in Wheat Ridge during the week of June 14, July 9 and August 12. More information, and a map of pieces, will be released online at wearelocalworks.org/chalk-of-the-town/.
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