(Photos by Cissy Shi, Savannah Symister and Patricia Kelly)
The sidewalks of Fremont Park on an early Saturday morning would normally serve as, well, just sidewalks for joggers, dog-walkers and pedestrians.
But on Aug. 31, they were given a facelift—they became the canvas for the 23rd annual Chalk It Up to Sacramento.
This popular event, which lasts through Tuesday, Sept. 2, attracted over 200 volunteer artists and 35,000 onlookers last year, and is an effort to raise money for local art programs.
At 7:30, senior Cissy Shi and art teacher Patricia Kelly checked in and began their search in the park for square 127—the plain concrete 4-by-4 square that would eventually depict a painting by artist Gregory Kondos, who is also the featured artist of this year’s Chalk Mural.
Shi and Kelly, the president and adviser of the National Art Honor Art Society (NAHS), respectively, registered for the event even though the organization is low on funding.
“It is a nice opportunity for our members to get into the mood for our Chalk Mural and a good chance to show other people how well our students are doing,” Shi said.
But unlike the Chalk Mural, the students had no idea how big the square would be and were not able to outline it in advance.
“We had to free-hand everything,” Shi said.
Nevertheless, as more students began to show up and help, the chalk art began to take shape.
Senior Abigail Pantoja was one of the 10 students who came out to help.
“I have participated in the Chalk Mural before so I thought it would be cool to look at other chalk arts,” Pantoja said.
“Most (of the squares) are done by professionals or by people who have a lot of experience. My favorite one was the one of The Beatles, which looks so realistic.”
The students finished their square by 2 p.m., and Shi was very happy with the result.
“I am really amazed by some of the kids who came,” she said.
“Some of them have never done the Chalk Mural before, but they have some really good skills.”
Besides chalking, students also enjoyed live music from local bands and numerous food trucks.
Shi hopes that participating in Chalk It Up will become a Country Day tradition in the future.