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Artists young and old participate in 13th annual Oberlin Chalk Walk

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    Alysa Gainer, of Wellington, chalks a drawing of her cat Mr. Bigglesworth on her sidewalk square Sunday at the annual Oberlin Chalk Walk.



OBERLIN — Hundreds took to the concrete slabs of downtown Oberlin with a handful of chalk and an artistic vision during the 13th annual Oberlin Chalk Walk on Sunday.

Artists young and old participated in the event, making a canvas of the walkways and temporarily beautifying Oberlin’s cityscape.

Artists like Alysa Gainer, 23, and her nephew, Caleb Kropp, 9, of Wellington, who were working diligently on their pieces in the sun near Allen Art Museum.

Gainer, who has attended the Chalk Walk four years, was working on a picture of her gray cat Mr. Bigglesworth in a spacesuit like an astronaut. Meanwhile, Kropp, who has attended twice, was re-creating a paper doodle he made of a “drerewolf” — a creature that is half-werewolf and half-dragon — on the sidewalk.

“I don’t have a whole lot of motivation to draw, so this is just the one time of the year I get out there. I’m here all day; I want to do something really cool,” Gainer said, still coloring in her cat on the sidewalk. “It’s really nice having people walk by and complimenting you on your stuff.”

The Chalk Walk had been canceled Saturday because a storm was forecast, and weather also delayed it Sunday.

But the event drew about 1,000 participants Sunday, according to Chalk Walk founder and organizer Barry Richard, who got the idea after seeing images of chalk art in Europe and started the event in 2006.

Organized by Allen Memorial Art Museum, Firelands Association for the Visual Arts, Oberlin Business Partnership, Oberlin Heritage Center and Oberlin Public Library, the Chalk Walk provides pastels and space to work for anyone wanting to participate.

Richard’s favorite part was after the event, when he could look around the city and see the artwork on the sidewalks.

“We can kind of relax, and then I typically come out the next day and take a walk around town and see everything in a new light,” he said.

Contact Bruce Walton at 329-7123 or

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