Come rain, come shine, chalk festival pulls through for a great cause

A colorful mural created by some of the top artists at the Chalk the block festival on friday. Photo courtesy of Shops at the Riverwoods.
Colorful murals adorned the sidewalks at the Chalk the Block festival Friday. Photo courtesy of Shops at the Riverwoods.

Nothing puts a damper on a chalk festival like a rain storm, but artists pushed through a wet weekend to produce beautiful pieces in support of a worthy cause.

Chalk the Block at The Shops at the Riverwoods was a three-day street-painting festival full of live music, food vendors and over 280 chalk artists that all came together to raise a goal of $30,000 for Clear Horizons Academy, a private school in Orem that seeks to help children with autism build brighter futures and succeed both academically and socially.

The festival began Thursday, Sept. 12 and finished up on Saturday, Sept. 14.

Tarps, sponges and even tents were used to defend against the showers, yet most artists still had to redo the majority of their artwork on Saturday morning. Even in gloomy weather, however, artists kept up a cheery mood and simply kept working.

Aimee Bohnam, from Orem, one of the four professional featured artists at the event, said severe weather is always a possibility in chalk art, but she would finish her artwork no matter what the weekend weather brought on.

“You always run the risk with weather,” Bohnam said. “It’s just a gamble with street painting always.”

Drawing her inspiration from children’s stories, Bohnam said she felt honored to be involved with a cause that offers so much support to parents and kids affected by autism.

“It’s fun for everybody, but I just love seeing kids get excited about the art,” Bohnam said. “I have a kid with special needs, and this is a great way to give back to the community.”

Aimee Bohnam creates an interactive chalk murals full of trolls. Photo by Haley Beckstrand.
Aimee Bohnam creates an interactive chalk murals full of trolls. Photo by Haley Beckstrand.

McKell Law, the marketing director and events coordinator at the Riverwoods said working with Clear Horizons gave the festival a deeper meaning by giving families in the community hope.

“When we do events we try to tie them to local charities because one of our goals is to support the community,” Law said. “We are so grateful to be partners with Clear Horizons because we feel like it is such a worthy cause.”

Carol Walker, the director of public relations and assistant development at Clear Horizons Academy, said that with the rates of autism so high in Utah, the school seeks to raise awareness about the effects of autism, as well as to support local families.

One of the four featured artists was inspired by faces for this chalk mural. Photo courtesy of Shops at the Riverwoods.
One of the artists created a mural after being inspired by faces. Photo courtesy of Shops at the Riverwoods.

“This (event) is really bringing the families and community together,” Walker said.

Nationally, one in 88 children are diagnosed with autism, while in Utah rates are staggeringly higher, at one in 47. Although research is ongoing, no one really knows why the discrepancy exists, but Clear Horizons has the expertise to help.

“We know things that can change the trajectory of their lives,” Walker said. “If we get these students early, we can really change their lives.”

Clear Horizons, artists and vendors didn’t let a little stormy weather stop them from enjoying a weekend of great art and community support.

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