chalk drawings and the fountain of youth

colorful chalk peacock at crown center 6-19-11

Maybe it’s because I am frequenting sidewalks these days instead of the road or maybe because it’s summer but I am seeing more and more chalk drawings. Bright pastel works of “art” that sporadically dot the sidewalks of the neighborhoods I walk through daily and those trippy chalky illusions you see floating through the internet. On the way to Kansas City to see my family I read through the Southwest Airlines magazine you find in your seat back pocket behind the Skymall magazine. In the section that tells of the goings on in the cities that Southwest services I found a chalk drawing festival that was happening in California. It was just passing a thought, but as I turned the page my mind briefly went to California and I thought it would be cool to see what some serious artists could do with chalk. When I got to KC one of the first things I did was go to my sister’s house to see her and the kids. As my niece spotted me walking down the street she ran to me and I noticed her hands and much of her face was covered with blue chalk. When I got to their sidewalk I saw that they had indeed been busy making “pictures” with mostly blue chalk. ¬†They had even drawn on Sarah, the statue of a little girl that guards their front porch. Later that night at my parents house my mom was reading the paper and, knowing nothing of all this chalk phenomena, casually mentioned that I may want to check out the chalk drawing exhibition that would be going on at Crown Center over the weekend. Weird. What is it with all this chalk?

I did go check out the exhibition on Sunday, after it was officially over and the crowds had gone. Many of the artists had left too but their work remained and I was able to walk each terraced level unobstructed and soak it all in. They weren’t the trippy ones you may have seen on the internet but as expected these drawings were amazing. There was a golden late afternoon light basking those Crown Center bricks and it made for a dramatic scene. As I made my way to street level I saw a few remaining artists and talked to them while admiring their work. There is a large fountain on the street level that was filled with children of various ethnicities cooling off and splashing each other. It was a very hot day and a few adults had wandered in and I briefly entertained the notion but this fountain was clearly for the youth.¬† Not everyone has access to a swimming pool so I was happy to see that so many children were able to cool off. I saw a mother with her two girls sharing some time together and they looked as happy as they could be so I had to snap a shot. It never hurts to be reminded what community is for and see that many people from different backgrounds will come together for fun.






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