The first annual Chalk Walk Art in Old Town North is a success

Accountant Glenn Christianson, who normally paints murals, creates his own 3D puzzle / photo by Laura Plaia for Zebra Press

ALEXANDRIA, VA – On Saturday, October 15, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., the streets of Old Town North Alexandria were transformed into incredible art museums. Artists transformed sidewalks and parking lots throughout the area to bring the first annual “Chalk Walk” to Old Town North.

“We are thrilled to have such great artists join us in Old Town North, where they can showcase their incredible work,” said Agnes Artemel, President of the Old Town North Alliance. “The locations donated by many Alliance members will showcase the arts and culture district in Old Town North.”

Architect Anila Angjeli creates her “TuliPop”/photo by Laura Plaia for Zebra Press

The morning started at the Canal Center where the artists picked up their chalk supplies and received their assigned sidewalk designations. The weather was perfect, with just enough warmth and sunrise to inspire the artists. Some artists have even chalked hopscotch into their spaces to get the imaginative juices flowing.

Artist Michael Price warms up with hopscotch before flouring./Photo by Laura Plaia/Zebra Press

Soon after, they started creating their chalk masterpieces. Many artists have never worked with chalk before, having primarily used watercolours, acrylics, pastels and clay. So it turned out to be a new experience for many – creating artistic expressions on cement.

“The joy of art” and “giving back to the community” were the two common themes that most artists mentioned when talking about the “why” behind their works. Several of the artists shared that they create art part-time, or even in their spare time, while juggling day jobs ranging from accountant, architect, teacher, recent VCU graduate, game artist, to fundraising, among others.

Remy Lavelle gets into the fall spirit with his pumpkin patch./Photo by Laura Plaia for Zebra Press

“It’s my favorite part of the year,” says Remy Lavelle, who was creating pumpkin chalk art as a tribute to his dog over the Rainbow Bridge, Pluto. “If I’ve learned anything as a (former) teacher, it’s being part of the community.”

Mairi Thorne shows off her thumbnail that guides her through the process/Photo by Laura Plaia for Zebra Press

“I missed being covered in pigment,” laughs Mairi Thorne. She graduated in 2016 in Game Art, but wanted to go back to getting her hands on the art elements.

Michael Price quickly adapts from his usual carving to sidewalk chalking / photo by Laura Plaia for Zebra Press

Her friend, who is chalk drawing next to her, is Michael Price, a recent VCU graduate who primarily creates wire art as a sculptor. He currently works at the Torpedo Factory and hopes to one day be a juror in an art exhibition.

Chalk artists included the following:

Anila Angjeli, Glenn Christianson, Nicole Flag, Adrienne Iannazzo, Patrick Kirwin, Remy Lavelle, Michael Price, Kristin Neubauer, Will Shanklin, Mairi Thorne, Brad Ulery, Vanessa Vale, Joyce Wagner, Julia Wagner and Margaret Wohler

Nicole Flag, scientist, still finds time to create works of art such as this witch’s brew, and recently placed “Best in Show” in one of her many competitions / photo by Laura Plaia for Zebra Press

A “Kids Fun” zone with chalking opportunities for children was available in the parking lot at the corner of North Royal and Montgomery Street.

The community as well as the artists appreciated the opportunity to take a break and enjoy the beauty of art in the fresh air. Walkers frequented the cafes of Old Town North, such as St. Elmo’s, and surrounding restaurants and establishments as they strolled, enjoying the beautiful Saturday weather. The day ended with food trucks and live music at the Canal Center after 4 p.m.

Additional pictures:

Patrick Kirwin creates a multi-dimensional King Tut / photo by Laura Plaia for Zebra Press
Flight attendant Jules Wagner and her mother Joyce (not pictured) create a flower mosaic in the courtyard of Alexandria House
Kristin Neubauer and Brad Ulery joke about their very different styles / photo by Laura Plaia for Zebra Press
Vanessa Vale explained that she carefully mapped out her creation before putting chalk on the floor / photo by Laura Plaia for Zebra Press

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