(Chalk) dust in the wind: Chalk It Up! returns to Prescott

Apr 1, 16 • 5enses, FeatureNo Comments

Chalk art by BK Lyon from 2015’s Chalk It Up! event in Prescott. Courtesy photo.

By James Dungeon

A rally of faces. A garden of flowers. Several zoos’, aquariums’, and ranches’ worth of animals. A lawsuit of Disney characters.

Once the proverbial and literal dust settles on Chalk It Up!, the fruits of two days’ labor offer a revelatory insight into the contemporary zeitgeist. (Somewhere, a social scientist is attempting to correlate street art with election outcomes.)

But you needn’t get so analytical.

This is about spreading the message about being healthy and being well,” said Tina Blake, development coordinator for the West Yavapai Guidance Clinic Foundation. “It’s about art, and community, and getting outdoors.”

And, of course, fun.

This is the eighth year for Chalk It Up! — the second with West Yavapai Guidance Clinic at the helm. Despite the leadership change, the event continues to grow.

We had the highest attendance ever (last year) and raised over $9,000 that went back into community mental health,” Blake said. “We also had over 80 official sponsors, which was another record.”


Native Arizonian Lisa Brethour, a guest/featured artist in 2015, works on a piece for Chalk It Up! Courtesy photo.

In 2015, more than half of the 1,700 registered attendees were children or youth. (There were roughly 5,000 attendees total.) Event organizers distributed 1,200 boxes of chalk with zero left over. This year, there’ll be twice as much chalk — about $4,000’s worth — in large part because of grants from the Arizona Commission on the Arts and the Prescott Area Arts and Humanities Council.

Last year, we were panicked and ended up putting together little loose chalk pieces to try and get together more boxes,” Blake said. “People offered pieces from their boxes, which was pretty cool. … I think we’re set for this year.”

There’ll also be more guest/featured artists, too — about a dozen, this year. These folks are the ones who get the larger spaces and make the really vivid pieces. You know, the pros. Plus there’ll be more prizes for participants.

Bring sunscreen, water, a hat, and a towel or pad to sit or kneel on.

We want people to know it’s not just art on the ground, though” Blake said, alluding to additional mobile art surfaces, a sculpture canvas, a new photo booth, and more. “This is an event for children and adults, for families, and, well, for everybody.”

There’s also several musical and dance performances. Plus free popcorn.


Tina Blake, of the West Yavapai Guidance Clinic Foundation, reads an announcement during the 2015 Chalk It Up! event. Courtesy photo.

Here’s the basic info you’re looking for …

What: Chalk It Up! annual chalk art festival

When: 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Saturday & Sunday, April 16 & 17

Where: National Bank of Arizona Parking Lot, 201 N. Montezuma St., Prescott

Who: Benefits West Yavapai Guidance Clinic Foundation

Web: PrescottChalkArt.Com

Worth: Free, chalk included


Chalk It Up! is 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, April 16 and 17 at the National Bank of Arizona’s parking lot, 201 N. Montezuma St., Prescott. Proceeds benefit the West Yavapai Guidance Clinic Foundation. Find out more at PrescottChalkArt.Com.

James Dungeon is a figment of his own imagination. And he likes cats. Contact him at JamesDungeonCats@Gmail.Com.

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