by Lorraine Payette, written May 19, 2014
Face paint, balloon creations, live music and dance all came to Gananoque on Saturday, May 17 as part of Chalk the Walk, an annual celebration of spontaneous art and colour.
“It’s a good day,” said Jeffrey Andrews, 5, of Kingston. He was sporting a new balloon hat made by Dr. Kaboom, and drawing a big yellow truck on the sidewalk.
“Princess” Pamela, age three, agreed. She had never met an eight-foot-tall man before, and she later got a balloon flower that was very pretty.
The event is the start of the summer season in Gananoque and is in its fifth year. Assisted by student volunteers from Gananoque Intermediate and Secondary School, the festival drew more than a hundred people out of their warm homes to try their hand at sidewalk art while braving unusually cold temperatures. Favourite professional chalk artists 3-D chalk specialist Guy Wales, David Day, and Chalk Guy Dave Johnston, as well as children’s book creator and illustrator Wallace Edwards dazzled the crowd with their amazing works while Sheila Rosalie and Spare Change took the stage to provide happy music for all and the students of Dreams in Motion performed live dance near the fountain. The Wasp Man also came out to show off some of the amazing pieces in his collection.
Not only is this free event the herald of a new spring season, it is a safe way for families to spend time together. Whether looking at the amazing exhibits from the wasp museum, enjoying the chalk drawings, or making some of your own, this is a great way to bond while preparing for the summer ahead.
“Chalk is supplied free but everyone is welcome to bring special colours and props for art techniques,” said Gravelle. “Sponges, cloths, brushes make good blending tools and produce great special effects.
“(We) consider it a combination festival, family event, meeting place, learning experience, exhibition space and catalyst for a network of support and participation in the community and beyond.”
A very ephemeral art form, the first rain will wash away the magic and return the pavement to what it once was. But for a few bright, cheerful days, it lingers in the park, inviting everyone to get out and welcome the summer that is to come.