Monticello Road is a community arts project in Charlottesville, Virginia. Through photography and a series of public events and conversations, we explore how an art can be an essential, integral and everyday part of a healthy community.

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Monday, August 5, 2013

Inspiration: Chalkville

Monticello Road is an in-depth exploration of one street in Charlottesville, VA. It asks how art can be a key, everyday part of a healthy and vibrant community. This blog normally focuses, as it should, on the people and places in that neighborhood but it also occasionally presents related examples and inspirations from elsewhere.

Elinor Slomba is an artist/organizer/agent/angel and a lifetime collaborator and friend of mine. I caught up with Elinor as she was catching her breath after the completion of Chalkville, a monumental chalk drawing on a high school parking lot in West Haven, CT and an excellent example of art-centric community organizing.

Tell us about Chalkville. What was it about and how did it go?

Elinor: Chalkville was a Guinness-approved world record attempt for Largest Chalk Pavement Art. The record we had to beat was 90,000 square feet of one unified chalk drawing, set by Mark Wagner of Alameda, California. After I got the idea this might be a good civic art project, we got seed funding from the Awesome Foundation, Connecticut Chapter. They give $1,000 grants to individuals for creative projects that benefit communities. That was enough for a little less than half of the chalk, but it enabled us to begin saying "we have funding for this." It wasn't just a crazy idea, we were certified Awesome!