The day of the Chalk Mural was one of excitement, hope and school pride. I arrived at school at 7:30 a.m., which I believe to be far too early to do anything, let alone be at school. Junior Zoe Dym was the squaremaster that I was assisting, and she was already hard at work on the ground.
The day before, the white chalk lines had been drawn as a guide for our colors, and slowly I saw a picture take form. It was gradual. The first few hours of work, I worried that the lines that made up a hand were not straight, or the color of the background was a bit too fuschia, but I relaxed eventually (with help from Zoe).
I was preoccupied with details all day, but for the final product, it didn’t matter. The colors were bright, the lines were straight and everything was in its place.
The Chalk Mural is an inexplicably amazing process, and that is obvious given the final piece. But what makes it truly unique is the sense of togetherness I got from the experience.
I grew closer to the people that worked on my square (junior America Lopez, senior Lara Kong and freshman Nico Burns, to name a few) and those who worked nearby. Walking barefoot through the quad, I made eye contact with people whose pants were equally splattered with color. We compared the blisters on our fingers and the bruises on our knees.
I barely ate all day, at one point venturing into the front office to steal a bowl of marshmallows and some apple cider to actually get some sustenance. By the end of the day, my fingertips had been rubbed raw and it hurt to touch anything. My hips were locked, and it was impossible to walk properly after all of the deep lunges and squats necessary to reach the ground.
However, even through all the pain, it was worth it for that sense of community. Betty LaDuke made some amazing art, but even more importantly, she brought us all together to make a beautiful piece. The non-artists and artists alike had a part, and in my humble opinion, the Chalk Mural is one of the most effective communal projects every year.
Congratulations, muralists, on creating an art piece, a community and a magnificent day for yours truly. And thank you.