LANCASTER – Artists of all ages have gathered in Lancaster town center to take part in the Italian Street Painting event for the 2022 Lancaster Festival Art Walk.
By noon on Thursday, the sidewalks of Fountain Square had been detailed with cartoon characters, flora and fauna and optical illusions.
The sidewalk chalk murals that viewers see during the art walk may have taken amateur and experienced artists many hours, if not days, to create. Offered as a Lancaster Festival activity, street painting has inspired dozens of adults and children to include their talents in this year’s Art Walk.
Many of those working on their designs had brought friends and family with them to participate or to be entertained, as artists, during the hours-long process.
Laurelville resident Olivia Stump was one of the latter performers; she brought her mother with her to support her and to act as an occasional assistant as she worked on finishing a pink lotus flower and water lilies. Chalk art is not a new medium for Stump, as she has participated in the Art Walk three times and is constantly working with chalk at home.
“At my grandma’s, she has a cement slab in front, and I (chalk it) and then do it inside our garage on cinder blocks.”
Others started participating in the Art Walk for the activity itself, rather than for an exceptional love of chalk art. Duncan Falls resident Mary DeLong took part in the Art Walk for the second time this year, along with her daughter, Brooke Wallace, and her daughter’s friend.
“It at least got them out of the house in the summer and really let them do their thing,” Delong said. “I don’t feel like you have too many chances to do what you want, but they can come here and do whatever they think of. People actually see it, which with art, most of the time you do it at home and no one ever sees it.
Lancaster residents Christine and Jessica McIntire are also a mother-daughter couple who have experience as Art Walk participants and, without hesitation, signed up for the event again this year.
“(This year) I called, left a message and called back because we couldn’t get big places one year and it was only two days after (registration) opened. I was like, ‘You’re kidding me,’ Christine McIntire said. “I was on top this year and got two big squares and two small squares.”
Using two large side-by-side sidewalk tiles, the McIntires planned to create a combined artwork, featuring koi fish and water lilies. They said the whole event is better with people by your side, and creating something together makes it even more special.
The sisters, Madeline, 11, and Emily, 8, Neal, also enjoyed participating together. Their dad, Shaun Neal, taped two little squares so they could chalk whatever they wanted. Madeline chose to create a spooky image of one of her favorite ROBLOX characters and Emily drew her blue football shirt, with her nickname, Lil’ Shaun, after her dad, on the back.
Shaun Neal said Madeline was the entertainer of the family and it was nice to see her show off her abilities in public.
“I think it’s good when you have a kid who has a skill set unlike anything you have,” Shaun Neal said. “(Emily) is a mini-me, so honestly it gets boring sometimes because she’s like me but (Madeline) interests me because she does things that are completely foreign to me.
Among the koi fish, flowers, and cartoon character chalk art, there was also a cohesive three-section waterfall with a hard-to-miss inner tube. Once complete, the waterfall will be in 3D and people attending the Art Walk will be able to “sit” in the inner tube and look like they’re rafting, says Lori Sheppard, one of the creators. of the waterfall.
Although Sheppard worked on the intricate piece with her husband, Brent Sheppard, and his friend, Tony Thompson, she felt they should continue working on it throughout the day on Thursday. However, the long hours haven’t diminished Sheppard’s love for what she said is the best time of the year in Lancaster.
Sheppard said she appreciates the Lancaster Festival volunteers so much that she tries to write a letter every year, thanking them for all they do behind the scenes. She said it strengthened her love for the Lancaster community and allowed her to escape everyday life.
“For me, it’s just (about) being in the present,” Sheppard said. “That’s all we’re worried about right now; nothing else matters. It’s a good way to forget everything else, just put it on the sidewalk.