Alexandria, VA – On Saturday, October 15, from 10 am-4 pm, the streets in Old Town North Alexandria were turned into a unique art museum. Artists transformed sidewalks and parking lots throughout the area to bring the First Annual Chalk Walk to OTN.
“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.”
The morning kicked off at Canal Center, where artists picked up their chalk supplies and assigned sidewalk designations. The weather was perfect, with just the right warmth and sunshine to inspire the artists. Some artists even chalked hopscotch in their spaces to get the imaginative juices flowing.
Soon afterward, they began to create their masterpieces. Several artists had never worked with chalk before, having used mainly watercolors, acrylics, pastels, and clay. Creating art expressions on cement was a new experience for many.
“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 artists shared that they create art part-time or in their downtime while juggling day jobs ranging from bookkeeper, architect, teacher, recent VCU grad, gaming artist, to fundraiser, among others.
“This is my favorite part of the year,” said Remy Lavelle, who was creating a chalk pumpkin patch 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.”
“I missed being covered in pigment,” said Mairi Thorne with a laugh. She earned her degree in Game Art in 2016 but wanted to get her hands back into the artwork elements.
Chalking beside her was her friend sculptor Michael Price, a recent VCU graduate who primarily creates wire art. He works at the Torpedo Factory and hopes one day to be a juror in an art display.
Chalking artists included 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.
A “Kids Fun” area with chalk available for children was in the parking lot at the corner of North Royal and Montgomery Street.
The community and 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 Saturday’s weather. The day wrapped up with food trucks and live music at the Canal Center after 4 pm.