Old Town North’s first chalk walk is a great success

Architect Anila Angjeli creating her “TuliPop” (Photo: Laura Plaia)

Alexandria, VA – On Saturday, October 15, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., the streets of Old Town North Alexandria were transformed into a unique art museum. Artists transformed sidewalks and parking lots throughout the area to bring the first annual chalk walk to OTN.

“We are so happy to have such great artists join us in Old Town North, where they can showcase their incredible work,” said Agnes Artemelpresident of the Old Town North Alliance. “The locations given by many Alliance members will present the arts and culture district in the old town north.

The morning started at Channel Center, where artists picked up their chalk supplies and assigned sidewalk designations. The weather was perfect, with just enough warmth and sunshine to inspire the artists. Some artists have even chalked hopscotch into their spaces to get the imaginative juices flowing.

Soon after, they started creating their masterpieces. Several artists had never worked with chalk before, having mainly used watercolours, acrylics, pastels and clay. Creating artistic expressions on cement was a new experience for many.

“The joy of art” and “giving back to the community” were the two common themes that most artists mentioned when talking about the “why” behind their works. Several artists shared that they create art part-time or in their spare time while juggling day jobs ranging from accountant, architect, teacher, recent VCU graduate, game artist, to fundraising, among others.

Patrick Kirwin creates a multi-dimensional King Tut. (Photo: Laura Plaia)

“It’s my favorite part of the year,” said Remy Lavelle, who created a chalk pumpkin patch as a tribute to his dog above the rainbow bridge, Pluto. “If I’ve learned anything as a (former) teacher, it’s being part of the community.”

“I missed being covered in pigment,” Mairi Thorne said with a laugh. She graduated in Game Art in 2016 but wanted to get her hands on the art elements again.

Beside her was her friend sculptor Michael Price, a recent VCU graduate who primarily creates wire art. He works at the Torpedo Factory and hopes one day to be a juror in an art exhibition.

Scientist Nicole Flag finds the time to create works of art like this witch’s brew and recently ranked “Best in Show” in one of her many contests. (Photo: Laura Plaia)

Chalk artists included Anila Angjeli, Glenn Christianson, Nicole Flag, Adrienne Iannazzo, Patrick Kirwin, Remy Lavelle, Michael Price, Kristin Neubauer, Will Shanklin, Mairi Thorne, Brad Ulery, Vanessa Vale, Joyce Wagner, Julia Wagner and Margaret Wohler .

A “Kids Fun” area with chalk available for children was in the car park at the corner of North Royal and Montgomery Street.

The community and artists appreciated the chance to take a break and enjoy the beauty of art in the fresh air. Walkers frequented Old Town North cafes, such as St. Elmo’s, and surrounding restaurants and establishments as they strolled, enjoying the Saturday weather. The day ended with food trucks and live music at the Canal Center after 4 p.m.

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