Masterpieces drawn in chalk are on Gateway sidewalks this weekend By Erin Stewart Deseret Morning News
Todd Powelson leans in close to the sidewalk, holding a fat blue piece of chalk between dusty fingertips.
A chalk novice, Powelson smudges the blues and whites together to create a swirled sky in the background of a piece he hopes will encourage children to continue learning and dreaming during the summer. "It's important for children to build imagination and creativity because they can use it in any field. They can see the world in a new and different way," Powelson said.
Powelson's chalk practice will help to create his final art masterpiece this weekend at The Gateway's Chalk Art Festival. While many artists will sketch their works onto the sidewalks, Powelson has teamed up with Utah's System of Higher Education to get students thinking about their dreams and about college.
Powelson's work, which he expects will take about 16 hours to finish, shows a tree growing in the foreground of a human face silhouette. The image is meant to conjure thoughts of new ideas, dreams and planning for the future.
"Being creative during the summer and keeping busy is important. It keeps the world new," Powelson said.
Anna West, outreach officer for the Utah Education Savings Plan, recruited local artist Powelson for the art job in hopes of attracting attention to education and to the need to plan now to make children's academic dreams a reality. In particular, saving for college is a first step towards getting children into college and ready to pursue their dreams, she said.
"We want to keep kids engaged in learning, and chalk art really attracts kids like nothing else," she said.
The 2006 Chalk Art Festival will begin Friday at 4 and continue until Saturday at 8 p.m. at The Gateway in Salt Lake City. Judging for the pieces will begin at 4 p.m. Saturday. The event is hosted by the Utah Foster Care Foundation.