#ArtWeekAtHome – Day 3: Outdoor/Public Art

May 3, 2020

For each day of #ArtWeekAtHome, we are focusing on one popular genre of arts/culture as a Daily Challenge. Day 3 is focused on outdoor and public art. One of the most popular at-home ways to make public art features chalk art on sidewalks, driveways, and parking lots. Today, neighborhoods are coming alive with inspiring images and messages thanks to the resurgence of chalk art. Join us today for the Daily Challenge and be sure to check out other fun “at-home events” hosted by the ArtWeek community that celebrate creativity!


Today’s challenge is “Show Us your (chalk) art.” The rules are simple – go outside and make a sidewalk or driveway your creative canvas, take a photo, and share it with us tagging #ArtWeekAtHome. Use chalk if you have it handy – and if not, get creative with using your ‘driveway as a canvas’ using other materials like sticks, stones, gardening tools, or even pots and pans! Be sure to share your piece of public art as part of ArtWeekAtHome BINGO and tag us @ArtWeekMA and #ArtWeekAtHome #ArtWeekDay3!

For more chalk art inspiration, you might be interested in knowing that according to curbed.com, chalk art has a colorful history.  “In fact, chalk art has always had a purpose beyond beautifying the streets. While the earliest form of chalk art dates back to the Stone Age, the street art tradition originated in 16th-century Italy, where drifting artists, known as the Madonnari, made a living traveling from village to village and recreating pictures of the Madonna on the pavement. The practice continued for centuries. Around the mid-1880s, a street art movement emerged independently in Victorian England, where artists, this time called “screevers,” graced the pavement with their ephemeral art. Unlike the art of the Madonnari, the works of screevers were often accompanied by poems and proverbs with a moral or political slant. As Fiona McDonald writes in her book The Popular History of Graffiti: From the Ancient World to the Present, “The idea was to produce a brilliant text in beautiful writing that would catch the eye of a wealthy passer-by, who would then pay a few pennies as a reward for the public sentiment and the benefit of all society. As many artists went on to fight in World War II, the street art tradition in Europe went into remission for a good part of the 20th century. Then came the International Madonnari Festival in the Italian village of Grazie di Curtatone. Launched in 1972, the street-painting competition drew hundreds of European artists in what was the first of many similar festivals around the world. Chalk art made its way to the United States in the late 20th century, largely driven by internet sensation Kurt Wenner. Credited as the inventor of 3D pavement art, Wenner started the first pavement art festival in the country in 1986. Since then, an increasing number of artists (as many as 200 in 2019) have gathered every year to draw elaborate chalk compositions on the sunny plaza at the Old Mission Santa Barbara, a fitting location for a tradition rooted in religious art. Today there are between 50 and 100 chalk art festivals in the U.S. alone, many of which will no doubt be affected by social-distancing requirements and varying stay-at-home orders across the country.”

Planned 2020 event: You were here. Downtown NAMA Chalk Portraits (City of North Adams Office of Tourism and Community Events)
Planned 2020 event: Chalk Art Festival (Benjamin Franklin Classical Charter Public School)
Planned 2020 event: Labyrinths, a Mindful, Creative Journey (SoulSparks Haven and The Trustees | Crane Estate)
Planned 2020 event: Labyrinths, a Mindful, Creative Journey (SoulSparks Haven and The Trustees | Crane Estate)


The Maynard Cultural District got a jump start on the chalk art craze and is running a competition until May 14 – click here to find out more!  But if you are looking for a creative breath of fresh air (both inside and out), be sure to check out some of these other happenings:

Wear Your Art: Creativity with Nature at the Stevens-Coolidge Place! Tune into our social media all day on May 3rd (and May 2 also!), for interactive and behind-the-scenes access to area artists and how they use local nature as their inspiration during their creative process. Along with seeing and hearing from talented local artists, we will be providing children with fun and interactive ways to get involved with step-by-step instructions on how they too can create their own Wearable Nature.  Click here for details.   

Rising Waters by Climate Creatives:  RiSinG WaterS continues even during COVID19!  Take a selfie or find a photograph of a site.  Show the water levels as an overlay on the photo. Upload your photo to the site and we will post it on our new Rising Waters website with instructions here. Rising Waters engages and educates communities through a participatory public art process.         

Promenades #1 with Eggtooth Productions: Promenades is a series of audio-curated walks for site-specific locations around the Pioneer Valley.  Designed for solo walkers or small groups, participants download a prepared audio walk and set of instructions in advance of their walk that guide them to a special location for this experience.  Once participants have arrived, they put on their headphones, hit play on their device, and pocket them for the rest of the journey, letting the soundtrack guide them through the piece. Go to www.eggtooth.org for more information! 


Planned 2020 event: Magic and Movement (CIC Cambridge)
Planned 2020 event: Magic and Movement (CIC Cambridge)
Planned 2020 event - Gilding with Gary Milek (Vose Galleries, Boston)
Planned 2020 event: Chatham Harbor Photography Tour by Boat (Chatham Bars Inn)

Alfred Glover and Garden Grove: The Cahoon Museum’s new drive-by exhibition, Garden Grove, features colorful sculptures by artist Alfred Glover. The exhibition is part of the Museum’s ongoing Streetside series and remains on view throughout the year.   Garden Grove consists of a series of whimsical “trees” with giant ginkgo and philodendron leaves that are inhabited by baby birds in blue nests, spotted dogs, exotic flowers, and other creative creatures. The artworks are clearly visible from the street along Route 28 in Cotuit.  A lifelong artist and Cataumet resident, Glover is well known to regional audiences for his fanciful, enchanting sculptures created in wood and metal. Check out www.cahoonmuseum.org for more information!

Musketaquid Earth Month “3050”: As we navigate the waters of living with Covid-19, The Umbrella Arts Center has completely re-imagined the Musketaquid Earth Day Parade & Festival. In lieu of this cherished Concord tradition, The Umbrella Arts & Environment Program is marking both our 30th Anniversary Earth Month Celebration and the 50th Anniversary of International Earth Day with dozens of free of virtual activities on the theme of Fresh Water, to be shared through May 15. Behind the scenes videos, hands-on at-home activity kits, a virtual art exhibition, recorded performances, and a whimsical multimedia “river exploration” installation by Liz Helfer are just a few!  You can find more out here!     

Hidden Hollow at Home:  Since opening in August 2010 as one of New England’s first certified Nature Explore Classrooms, Hidden Hollow™ has been an engaging space for outdoor discovery, hands on learning, and family time. Since virtually pivoting, our team at Heritage has created a collection of nature activities to encourage families to bring Hidden Hollow home! Start exploring here!                     

Go On a Nature Scavenger Hunt: The Boston Children’s Museum has lots to offer online but check out their Nature Scavenger Hunt here if you need to bring your creativity outdoors!

Home is Where the Heart is:  Join the Arts Foundation of Cape Cod for the final day of their virtual music and arts festival in support of local arts grants.  Check it out here

#Bringthegreenwayhome:  Use the Hoverlay app to turn your living room or back patio into a Rose Greenway Augment Reality (AR) gallery, and explore historic images of the Greenway corridor while learning about the transformation of Downtown Boston and the park’s creation. You can discover contemporary artworks with your family, in your home, and share your experiences through in-app photo and video.  Click here to start your tour!

VAHA and Connect from your Couch 24/7:  New Bedford’s famous monthly celebration has gone virtual, but even better is the amazing list of virtual offerings available 24/7. Lots of outdoor magic here like virtual tours and more, so be sure to check out the full schedule here!                          

For even more fun, today and throughout #ArtWeekAtHome, check out our Facebook Events page. You’re sure to find something that suits your interests!                         

Comments are closed.