First Chalk Walk on Sept. 30 designed to be artsy and fun

Katy Strass (left) and Pam Burris are putting together Huntington’s first Chalk Walk, which will see the sidewalks around the Huntington County Courthouse filled with chalk drawings on Saturday, Sept. 30.
Katy Strass (left) and Pam Burris are putting together Huntington’s first Chalk Walk, which will see the sidewalks around the Huntington County Courthouse filled with chalk drawings on Saturday, Sept. 30. Photo by Cindy Klepper.

Pam Burris likes to see people out enjoying themselves at community events.

When seniors started painting their parking spots at Huntington North High School, an idea was sparked.

How about asking people to draw pictures on the sidewalk around the Huntington County Courthouse?

Katy Strass soon came on board, and the first Huntington Chalk Walk was born.

The first of what Burris and Strass hope will become an annual event will be held on Saturday, Sept. 30. More than 90 people have signed up to decorate a sidewalk square, but Strass says there’s always room for more.

There’s a small fee to reserve a square and some entry fees have been donated for people who can’t afford to pay. Strass also figures that some people who have registered won’t be able to be there, freeing up extra squares.

“As long as we have spaces, everyone’s welcome to come,” Strass says.

The event is open to all ages and all skill levels, Strass says, adding that those already signed up represent “a large variety of people, really.”

The chalk drawings will take place on the sidewalks on the Jefferson and Franklin street sides of the courthouse.

Artists can sign in as early as 9 a.m. the day of the event and will draw until around 2 p.m. Spectators are welcome to stop by to “see art in action,” Strass says.

There’s no specific subject for the artwork, although it must be family friendly and not political.

“We’re leaving it open to whatever their creative minds come up with,” Strass says.

The drawings can be done only in chalk. Strass and Burris will have 90 packs of chalk to hand out, but artists are also welcome to bring their own chalk.

Then, from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m., spectators can buy tickets to vote on their favorite chalk drawings. Winners will be selected in three age categories and special awards will also be presented.

Children’s activities will also take place from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. in the Franklin Street parking lot across from the courthouse. Restroom facilities will be available at Schenkel Station, just south of the courthouse.

In the event of rain, all activities will be delayed until the following Saturday, Oct. 7.

The event isn’t meant to be a fund-raiser, Burris says, and any money left over will become seed money for next year or donated to local arts programs.

“It just gets people out enjoying themselves in town,” Burris says. “We more or less just did it for the art and the fun.”

Strass and Burris both have artistic backgrounds — Strass holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts, focused in printmaking, from Indiana University-Purdue University Fort Wayne and has an art studio in her home; Burris dabbles in antiques and is an amateur photographer.

Strass says her love of the arts is what prompted her to get involved.

“I always wanted to be in art things, community wise,” she says.

Burris says her motivation was just to put her time where her mouth was.

“It doesn’t really mean anything until you’re willing to stand up and do something,” Burris says.

Additional volunteers are assisting with various aspects of the event, and businesses and individuals have donated items for the Chalk Walk.

For more information, see the Huntington Indiana Chalk Walk 2017 page on Facebook.