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First Annual Chalk Walk Art in Old Town North a Success

Artists and the Community Came Together to Get into the Spirit of the Season

Bookkeeper Glenn Christianson who normally paints murals, creates a 3-D enigma of his own/ photo by Laura Plaia for Zebra Press

ALEXANDRIA, VA —  On Saturday, October 15, from 10am-4pm, the streets in Old Town North Alexandria were turned into amazing art museums. Artists transformed sidewalks and parking lots throughout the area to bring the First Annual “Chalk Walk” to Old Town North. 

“We are so happy to have such great artists join us in Old Town North where they can showcase their amazing work,” said Agnes Artemel, President of the Old Town North Alliance.  “The locations donated by many Alliance members will showcase the Arts and Cultural District in Old Town North.”

Architect Anila Angjeli creating her “TuliPop”/photo by Laura Plaia for Zebra Press

The morning kicked off at Canal Center where artists picked up their chalks supplies and received their assigned sidewalk designations. The weather was perfect, with just the right amount of warmth and sunrise to inspire the artists. Some artists even chalked hopscotch in their spaces to get the imaginative juices flowing.

Artist Michael Price hopscotching to warm up before chalking./photo by Laura Plaia/Zebra Press

Soon afterward, they began to create their chalk masterpieces. Several artists have never worked with chalk before, having used mainly watercolors, acrylics, pastels, and clay. So this proved to be a new experience for many – creating art expressions on cement.

“The joy of art” and “giving back to the community” were the two common themes most artists mentioned as they spoke of the “why” behind their artwork. Several of the artists shared that they create art part-time, or even in their downtime, while juggling day jobs ranging from bookkeeper, architect, teacher, recent VCU grad, gaming artist, to fundraiser, among others.

Remy Lavelle gets in the spirit of Autumn with her pumpkin patch./photo by Laura Plaia for Zebra Press

“This is my favorite part of the year,” says Remy Lavelle, who was creating a pumpkin patch chalk art as a tribute to her over-the-rainbow-bridge dog, Pluto. “If I learned anything as a (former) teacher, it’s being a part of the community.”

Mairi Thorne shows off her miniature which guides her through the process/photo by Laura Plaia for Zebra Press

“I missed being covered in pigment,” says Mairi Thorne, with a laugh. She earned her degree in 2016 in Game Art, but wanted to return to getting her hands in the artwork elements. 

Michael Price quickly adapts from his usual sculpting to sidewalk chalking/photo by Laura Plaia for Zebra Press

Her friend, chalking beside her, is Michael Price, a recent VCU graduate, who primarily creates wire art as a sculptor. He currently works at the Torpedo Factory and hopes one day to be a juror in an art display.

Chalking artists included the following:

Anila Angjeli, Glenn Christianson, Nicole Flag, Adrienne Iannazzo, Patrick Kirwin, Remy Lavelle, Michael Price, Kristin Neubauer, Will Shanklin, Mairi Thorne, Brad Ulery, Vanessa Vale, Joyce Wagner, Julia Wagner, and Margaret Wohler

Nicole Flag, scientist, still finds time to create art such as this witch’s brew, and recently placed “Best in Show” at one of her many competitions/ photo by Laura Plaia for Zebra Press

A “Kids Fun” area with chalking opportunities for children was available in the parking lot at the corner of North Royal and Montgomery Street.

The community as well as the artists appreciated the chance to pause and take in the beauty of art in the fresh air. Walkers patronized Old Town North coffee shops such as St. Elmo’s, and surrounding restaurants and establishments while they strolled, enjoying the beautiful Saturday weather.  The day wrapped up with food trucks and live music at the Canal Center after 4pm. 

Additional Photos:

Patrick Kirwin creates a multi-dimensional King Tut/photo by Laura Plaia for Zebra Press
Flight Attendant Jules Wagner, along with her mother Joyce (not pictured) creates a flower mosaic at Alexandria House courtyard
Kristin Neubauer and Brad Ulery joke to each other about their very different styles/photo by Laura Plaia for Zebra Press
Vanessa Vale explained that she carefully mapped out her creation before she put chalk to ground/photo by Laura Plaia for Zebra Press

 [SEE ALSO: Synetic’s “Dracula” is Sexy and Slick“]



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