Chalk the Block art festival coming to Shops at Riverwood


Julie Kirk Purcell, chalk artist, kneels down on the warm sidewalk, her canvas. All she has is a small bucket of chalk and a duster. She swings her baseball cap backwards and starts to work. Color by color, layer by layer, the sidewalk is transformed; a masterpiece is born. Her now-dusty, dirty hands contrast with the brilliant colors on the pavement.

Nationally recognized chalk artists such as Purcell will come together at “Chalk the Block,” a free two-day street art festival Sept. 21 – 22 at the Shops at Riverwood benefiting autistic children at Clear Horizon Academy.

Molli Craghead, office manager at Clear Horizon Academy, explained that “Chalk the Block” will also have a farmer’s market, entertainment, various vendors and more for those coming to the event.

“It’s a win win; the public will be able to view some really great artwork and also benefit children with autism,” Craghead said. “It’s a really great family event to attend.”

[media-credit name=”Courtesy of Julie Purcell” align=”alignleft” width=”300″][/media-credit]Over 180 artists, along with community members of all ages, will have the chance to create their own sidewalk masterpieces at the Shops at Riverwoods.

The event is free to the public to come and view the artwork. However, all proceeds, from artist fees to vendor sales, will go toward Clear Horizon Academy, which specializes in educating children with autism.

The funds they receive will be used to enhance and support the education of students at the Academy.

McKell Law, marketing director at the Shops at Riverwoods, loves watching chalk artists work.

“At the end of the second day when the artists are done, it’s so fun to see the progression from when they started to when they finish because they put in hour upon hour into these pieces,” she said.

Just as it takes time and patience to develop these masterpieces on a seemingly dull cement canvas, it takes time and patience to help a child develop their talents and skills in an educational environment.

[media-credit name=”Courtesy of Julie Purcell” align=”alignright” width=”300″][/media-credit]Law explained why The Shops at Riverwood chose to benefit Clear Horizon Academy.

“Autism is a concern here in Utah Valley, and it effects a lot of families,” she said. “We wanted to do an event that would raise awareness about autism in Utah county and be a good community event.”

Carol Walker, director of public relations at the Academy, invited all community members and volunteers, not just professional artists, to take part in this first year of “Chalk the Block.”

“Anytime that there’s an event that brings the community together with people from all walks of life, it helps to strengthen the community,” Walker said. “We wanted it to be something that the whole community could enjoy, whether they’re watching or participating. We’re trying to get the message out that the numbers of children with autism are rising.”

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