Maybe you remember sitting for hours in your driveway as a child, drawing suns with smiling faces and dusty purple flowers until your mother lifted you off the hot cement and patted the powdered rainbows off your clothes.
Maybe you remember sitting for hours in your driveway as a child, drawing suns with smiling faces and dusty purple flowers until your mother lifted you off the hot cement and patted the powdered rainbows off your clothes.For the children of Youthville, participation in the agency's second-annual Chalk Art Festival may be a way to create lasting childhood memories, such as these, said Micala Gingrich-Gaylord, Youthville’s Expressive Arts Center coordinator.For adults, it may be a way to reminisce about their past and better connect with and understand the children in Youthville’s care, she said.The event will be from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday in downtown Newton. It will feature professional artists, live music and food.Adults and children also will have opportunities to register to create chalk art in their own squares.This event is free and open to the public because of the support of Central Kansas Community Foundation and Newton Medical Center.More than 400 people participated last year.Gingrich-Gaylord said organizers picked chalk for the festival because of its forgiving and child-like nature.“Chalk Art Festival is a special event in that it draws on the mission of Youthville ‘Giving children back their childhood,’” she said. “The very nature of chalk is reminiscent of childhood and the freedom to create without fear of failure. Chalk is forgiving in this way.“Youthville works hard to provide the children in our care with opportunities for expression and creativity. The community in Newton and surrounding areas has helped create an atmosphere at the festival that further supports this goal.” Twenty-three professional artists will draw as a part of the festival, including Joe Loganbill, Hanna Easton, Angel Garcia, Melanie Cloud, Todd Lewis, Johanna Crommer, Dustin Crommer, Emily Piper, Aaron Walker, Juan Paredes, Kaycee Saxton, Joel Able, James Nickel, Julie Miller, Jessica Eaton, John Eaton, Melissa Carter, Randy Acosta, Megan St. Clair, Mary Johnston, Paul Herlad, Lana Benntte and Jennifer Bolyard.The professional artists will create artwork on panels, some of which will be for sale in a silent auction.The event is not themed. Professional artists, children and adults are allowed to create whatever they want in their assigned squares.Gingrich-Gaylord said she wanted the art to be accessible.“I believe that art should be accessible, that is not always a matter of skill, but sometimes a matter of acting, by doing the part of the artist we all may be the artist,” she said in her blog interview. “Children have an innate ability to access purity in image. They can call on things that adults have to conjure. In this way, I think their art is often very interesting and inspiring to others,” she said.To participate, register at the event sign-in table, and you will be assigned a square. Chalk will be provided.Youthville children will be working on a large Youthville logo, as well as their own squares.The event allows the children of Youthville to interact with the community and the community to learn more about the children and Youthville’s mission, Gingrich-Gaylord said.“I think any time you give the children a base of support and let them be a part of a larger community of friends and family, that gives them hope,” she said.Gingrich-Gaylord operates Youthville’s Expressive Arts Center.The center, which is on the Newton campus, was started to give disadvantaged youth a creative place to express their experiences through art.It offers a comprehensive array of programs, including incentives for improved behaviors, outings, recreation and opportunities for service within the community.These programs allow the children to reframe their difficult life experience to help them create new tools for coping, a news release said.“ ... we hope that children no matter what life has dealt them can still find a childhood. Art is a tool for transporting us through this life, no matter how difficult it has been,” Gingrich-Gaylord said in her blog interview. “The chalk is a vehicle, we hope the journey is enjoyable. We hope that we can show the community that they too can engage in creativity and help others to believe in the mission.”Youthville residents have weekly art groups and work in many mediums. Finished artwork has become part of gallery exhibits.More than 3,000 children are cared for annually by Youthville. To learn more or to get involved with Youthville, visit www.youthville.org.