Pedestrians walking along East Third Street on Saturday probably noticed something was afoot.
They took care to step around numerous enthusiastic artists drawing all over the city sidewalks. More than 20 artists participated in the first annual Great Jamestown Chalk Walk, making the event a resounding success. Everything from original works to poems to replicas of Van Gogh paintings graced the normally bland concrete.
The event was sponsored by Jamestown Now, Michael's, Downtown Jamestown Development Corporation, Arts Council for Chautauqua County and Jamestown Renaissance Corporation.
More than 20 artists participated in the Great Jamestown Chalk Walk on Saturday.
P-J photos by Nicholena Moon
"The only real objective of today is to give our friends and neighbors a chance to spend time with each other, a chance to create and view art, and hopefully get to know each other and the city better," said Tim Smeal, a Jamestown Now spokesperson.
The artists paid $10 to participate and had the time between 8 a.m. and 6 p.m. to create their masterpieces. Chalk was supplied by Jamestown Now and Michaels. Approximately 20 boxes of chalk and 12,000 pieces of chalk were used by the artists.
"Some artists even supplemented our supply with their own chalk and charcoal," said Smeal.
The Jamestown Now organization is relatively new to the area. Their mission is to make downtown a more exciting place to live. The group plans on holding four events per year, and this is their second event.
"One of the objectives of Jamestown Now is to give more people more reasons to enjoy the downtown city center area," said Smeal.
Although this is the first chalk walk, it won't be the last. Jamestown Now hopes to make the event an annual one.
"It's been a really great turnout and we will definitely do it again next year," said Vanessa Weinert, another Jamestown Now spokesperson.
The Chalk Walk helps bring awareness to Jamestown's art community, creating exposure for artists and bringing art back into the public realm, said Weinert.
"Really, it's about keeping the tradition of art in public spaces and making Jamestown the center for the arts that it is," she said. "It's public. It's not in someone's gallery, it's downtown, it's visible, it's accessible to everyone who lives in the area."
At 6:30 p.m. a reception was held in the Lilian Vitanza Ney Renaissance Center to announce the winners in each category.
"Another great thing about this event is that we are offering cash prizes to those who participate," said Weinert. "It's great because there are a lot of artists who live in this community who want to make a living through the art that they produce, and to be able to supplement that with events like this makes it very exciting for us and for them."
"It's encouraging whenever you see this many people downtown on a Saturday," added Smeal. "As someone who lives and works downtown, it's nice to see my friends and neighbors out enjoying the beautiful day and artistic pursuits."