Artists’ creativity will pave the way in downtown Lincoln for the third year in a row at the Star City Chalk Walk on Saturday.
Joe Younglove, the creator of the walk, said the event allows people to decorate the streets of Lincoln as a community. The idea came from a trip to Colorado he and his wife took in the spring of 2014.
“We went to Denver’s sidewalk chalk event, and really enjoyed it,” Younglove said. “I thought about how there hadn’t been a sidewalk chalk event in Lincoln since 2010, and that we should really have one. All we did was declare a Saturday near the end of August, and spread the word about the time and place to draw.”
The Star City Chalk Walk will start on the south side of O Street between Centennial Mall and 14th Street. The event is free to the public, and chalk will be provided for participants of all ages. Artists are allowed to start at 10 a.m. and must be done by 5 p.m.
The central location draws people to the event, Younglove said. From there, coordinators, including the Downtown Lincoln Association, provide the rest.
“We supplied chalk, plus some sweet jams,” Younglove said.
Downtown businesses are also on board with the event. Heavy foot traffic areas like Gomez Art Supply, A Novel Idea, Duffy’s Tavern, The Bourbon Theatre, Ali Baba’s and Yia Yia’s all support the event which drives up attendance to the area.
Participation has almost doubled from the first year of the event to the second year, Younglove said.
“There’s 149 photos in the second Chalk Walk album, and only 64 in the first year’s album,” he said. “We have had a good-sized increase in participation. I feel like the art had a farther reach last year, which included a tremendously cool prize-winning T. Rex drawn near Gomez.”
For Younglove, expansion doesn’t have a price tag for right now. He’s hoping to see organic increases in participation by the event becoming more visible.
“For promotion, we just pound the pavement, passing out handbills and putting up flyers,” Younglove said. “Plus we use Facebook, of course. You can see the incredible variety of art from past events on the Star City Chalk Walk Facebook page.”
There will be prizes awarded to the best artists, including Downtown Lincoln gift cards redeemable at over 200 locations and gift certificates to Ivanna Cone and Gomez Art Supply. This year they are able to award prizes to six artists, in the categories of adult, child and special needs. There is not a specific theme artists must follow.
“We choose winners based on originality, creativity, and effort.” Younglove said. “For instance, one winner in the past was a boy who collaborated with his mother to make an underwater sea creature robot, which was controlled by the boy from inside, and included ‘Bounce’ and ‘Fire’ switches.”
Students are encouraged to attend the event and bring a friend along.
“It’s a great idea to go to if you are looking for something to do this weekend.” UNL sophomore Brian Andersen said. “This will be my first time going to the event and I am excited to see what they have to offer.”