BY LISA VOSS
Chalk will be the talk of the town on Saturday, Sept., 6, when artists and community members converge on the downtown area for the first-ever Downtown Oshkosh Chalk Walk.
The creative and colorful new event is being organized by the Downtown Oshkosh BID Marketing Consortium and was inspired by similar events held in Wausau and other cities throughout Wisconsin. Typically the chalk drawings at these events range from fairly simple pictures to elaborate creations of amazing dimension and artistry. Subjects include portraits, animals, cartoon and movie characters and reproductions of classic art. Wausau’s event, held in July, drew 340 artists and thousands of spectators.
“When I went to the Wausau event I was truly amazed by the quality of the art and what these people were able to create with a pack of chalk,” says Kyla Morris, owner of Backlot Comedy House and one of the Oshkosh event organizers. “The vivid colors, the range of subjects and the level of creativity just blew me away. It would be great to build that kind of event for Oshkosh.”
Here is the lowdown on the Oshkosh event: Starting at 8 a.m., participants will work to create chalk art on treated plywood around Opera House Square, along Market Street and in several spots at the Oshkosh Saturday Farmer’s Market. Artists will continue to work throughout the day, with the public invited to watch their progress. Awards – one chosen by the artists and a People’s Choice Award – will be handed out at 7:30 p.m. in Opera House Square.
The chalk art will remain on display throughout that evening’s Gallery Walk. Art will be displayed in downtown businesses throughout the month of September.
Artists from near and far, as well as community members of all skill levels, are invited to participate in this new event. “We expect a good number of local artists and experienced chalk artists who have been at similar events around the state to participate in the Oshkosh event,” says Connie Day, co-owner of Market Boutique on Main and one of the event organizers. “But it’s really open to families, students, community groups – anyone who wants to try their hand at a different kind of art.”
Why is this event a good fit for our fair city? Chalk it up to the creative spirit and arts-friendly culture in Downtown Oshkosh. “This type of event brings people together and contributes to the sense of community we see every day in the downtown area,” says Sandy Prunty, co-owner of AtomicKatz and an event organizer. “We have a vibrant community of artists in Oshkosh and this is just another outlet for that talent and creativity. It’s a bonus that those of us who aren’t accomplished artists can also participate.”
Both adults and children can participate in the Chalk Walk. Participants age 12 and older must pre-register and pay a $25 fee to cover supplies. Artists will receive a sheet of treated plywood (4’x4’ or 4’x8’), a pack of 48 chalk pastels, latex gloves and a sponge for blending. Registration forms are available at www.downtownoshkoshchalkwalk.com. Deadline to register is Saturday, Aug. 30.
There is a $5 fee for children to participate, but pre-registration is not required. A chalk drawing demonstration for children and families is planned at the Oshkosh Public Library in August. Watch www.oshkoshpubliclibrary.org for more information.
Volunteers are needed for the Downtown Oshkosh Chalk Walk. Anyone who is interested should contact Sandy Prunty at 920-573-1126.
Keep up with the latest news about the Downtown Oshkosh Chalk Walk on Facebook at www.facebook.com/DowntownOshkoshChalkWalk.
Lisa Voss is the Head of Library Development at the Oshkosh Public Library and a member of the Downtown BID Marketing Consortium. For more information check out www.oshkoshpubliclibrary.org or call 236-5205.
Downtown to Host Chalk Walk
BY LISA VOSS