Chalk the block brings artists together and raises awareness

Artists leave their mark in the Riverwoods parking lot, drawing to show "How to Discover the World," this years theme. (Bryan Pearson)
Artists leave their mark in the Riverwoods parking lot, following this year’s theme “How to Discover the World.” (Bryan Pearson)

Artists and art lovers alike walked and crawled around the Riverwoods parking lot Sept. 11-13 to share chalk art and raise awareness for autism.

Chalk the Block, Utah’s largest chalk art festival, brought more than 250 artists together from not only Utah, but all around the country. Each artist created their chalk art in a parking stall. By the end of the week, several rows of parking were covered in chalk art.

Dawn Morrison Wagner, a featured artist from California, has attended the event every year since it started three years ago. Wagner has been doing chalk art for 27 years and loves that the unique medium is gaining more popularity.

“Part of the beauty of chalk art is that you get to see it being created, but then it goes away and next year you get to do something new,” Wagner said.

Each artist gave a different interpretation on the event theme: How to Discover the World. Jodie Kiser and her daughters chalked a camera focusing on a Danish castle, honoring their Danish heritage.

Artists of all ages came to contribute their talent to Chalk the Block at the Riverwoods. (Bryan Pearson)
Artists of all ages come to contribute their talent to Chalk the Block at the Riverwoods. (Bryan Pearson)

“We wanted to show discovery of the world through our heritage,” Kiser said.

Several interpretations included seeing the world through exploration, and seeing the world through friendship and love. One representation saw the world through hope, featuring images of world leaders like Nelson Mandela and Mother Teresa.

All proceeds from the event will go to Clear Horizons Academy, a school for children with autism. The proceeds will go directly to enhancing student learning, said Carol Walker, public relations director for Clear Horizons.

“It’s a great way to share messages and promote local artists,” said Sarah Knight, a first-time event visitor. “It also gets people away from their TVs.”

Participants ranged from 6-year-olds to high school students to long-time artists. Many participants plan on returning.

“It’s really fun getting to see familiar faces and to see the local artists get better every time,” Wagner said.


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