A Celebration of Chalk

A number of Chippewa Valley artists put their paint brush and canvas aside, and instead opted for a new medium.. chalk.

It was all part of Eau Claire's first ever chalkfest, a celebration of summer fun, community and creativity.

"We just made a couple posters, put a couple call for artists out on the web and really anyone who wanted to could be down here today, everyone who wanted a spot had one, we gave them chalk, we gave them sponges, water and we're just letting them run wild with it," event organizer Mallory Rineheart said.

Rineheart says with the large creative community in Eau Claire, chalkfest seemed a natural fit.

Five local artists were featured and worked for hours to create pavement perfection. Artist Justin Dancing Hawk was among them. He owns Stonefeather Fine Art Studio in Eau Claire and says working with chalk wasn't a big stretch since he typically works with pastels, but admits working outside does have its challenges.

"Well of course you have the physical challenge of being on your knees working and earlier we had the sun and it was getting rather hot out here, but I'm really enjoying myself," he said.

"Every kid I think has had side walk chalk and now they see people that they know don't draw on the sidewalk for a profession but they use chalk every day of their professional lives," Rineheart said.

Each artist is showcasing a unique design and amazingly skillful use of chalk. Dancing Hawk is planning to do a desert landscape and expects he'll still be working well into sunset this evening.

In addition to the artists, kids could also give chalk a try, grabbing a spot in the special kids zone.

Organizers say they anticipate the fun will continue next year, drawing even more artists to participate in what they hope will be a much larger event.

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