Whether you’re trying to buy groceries, connect with loved ones, or simply have fun, the coronavirus pandemic has forced people to get extra creative.
Though Netflix binges, socially distanced walks, and video chats with family members and friends have emerged as some of the most popular ways to pass the time in quarantine, if you’re looking for another simple, expressive, and relaxing pandemic activity, we highly suggest you buy some sidewalk chalk.
After stay-at-home orders went into effect across much of the country, forms of entertainment became more limited. Since restaurants, movie theaters, playgrounds, and more go-to public places were off limits, people started looking for ways to have fun in the comfort of their own homes, which is how sidewalk chalk became so popular again.
People have started using chalk to create uplifting messages of gratitude for healthcare workers, first responders, and delivery people. Parents are turning to the colorful art supplies to help entertain their kids. And professional artists are even creating elaborate chalk murals and drawings to help brighten their communities.
Stories of decorated sidewalks, driveways, walls, and streets across the country are too numerous to keep track of, but many artists such as mom and central Florida resident , are working to spread some joy in their own neighborhoods.
Drake has been sharing helpful pandemic reminders and hilarious words of encouragement with local residents by creating chalk drawings Disney characters, Muppets, and more. Each drawing also includes a timely quote.
In Illinois, Andrea Ignelzi, a special education teacher at Bremen High School, teamed up with the Midlothian Police Department to distribute chalk to local kids. And communities across the country — from Westfield, New Jersey, to Lakeway, Texas — are encouraging residents to draw on sidewalks and sharing photos of the local chalk masterpieces on social media.
The “chalk art” hashtag on Instagram has been seeing some serious action over the past few months, and the hashtag #ChalkYourWalk is being used to showcase sidewalk chalk drawn outside homes and seen during social distancing strolls. Some Instagram accounts dedicated to sharing chalk messages of hope and togetherness, such as @idchalkthat, @chalkituptolife, @cementalbreak, and @macairesmuse are also working to deliver some much-needed joy during the pandemic.
Artists like Melody Stadler also draw directly outside of healthcare facilities, like AdventHealth in Orlando, Florida. This allows healthcare professionals on the frontlines of the coronavirus fight can experience the beauty and uplifting power of sidewalk chalk art firsthand.
As shown in this article’s lede image, chalk murals and thank you messages have also appeared outside of hospitals like Mount Sinai Health System in New York City, too.
The sidewalk chalk trend has become such a source of delight that even John Krasinski’s Some Good News has highlighted people’s artistic chalk efforts. The YouTube show may have ended for now, but the social media accounts will stay up and running, which means people will be able to continue sharing photos of chalk drawings with Krasinski and the Some Good News Twitter community of more than 189,000 followers.
Getting into the chalk game
The pandemic has proven that sidewalk chalk is intended for all age groups, and that you definitely don’t have to be a professional artist to create a doodle or scribble a quote that can make someone smile.
Seeing people venture outside instead of staying indoors and turn this complicated world into their canvases to create beautiful works of art has inspired me to buy some chalk of my own and take up a new quarantine hobby. And if you’re looking to alleviate boredom, spread some cheer, or hop on a trend that doesn’t involve strenuous cooking, I suggest you give it a try as well.
If you haven’t used sidewalk chalk in years and don’t have any readily available in your homes, here are a few options that can be ordered online. (You can also apparently make your own chalk using eggshells, but that sounds like a whole dang commitment that I’m not personally ready to take on just yet.)
Price: $4.99 at Michael’s.
Price: $4.50 at Target.
Price: $4.99 at Target.
Price: $5.99 at Target.
Price: $1.00 at Party City.
Sidewalk chalk in the summer and beyond
As summer approaches and the weather gets nicer, sidewalk chalk can act as the ideal outdoor activity. But it isn’t just a hobby that people pursue in their driveways or on neighborhood sidewalks.
As an article on Curbed notes, there are dozens of chalk art festivals in the U.S. today, many of which will likely be impacted in some way by coronavirus guidelines. Some of these festivals, which usually take place in the spring and summer months, have already had to reevaluate whether or not they’ll proceed. Curbed explained that the Sarasota Chalk Festival in Florida, which was set to take place from March 6 to May 31, had to close down, but noted that organizers created a 3D Illusion Museum so that guests could experience art while social distancing in the future.
And though the annual Dogwood Arts Chalk Walk in Knoxville, Tennessee, which was scheduled for April 4, had to be postponed due to coronavirus, the organization decided to launch a virtual Chalk Walk competition which proved to be quite a success. While festivals might not proceed as expected, it’s clear that sidewalk chalk is still having a real moment in the pandemic.
Chalk art gives people a way to express themselves, put something beautiful out into the world, and connect with others, which is why it’s so important right now. Not to mention, chalk might prove to be extremely helpful in outlining social distancing guidelines on sidewalks outside businesses and in parks.
Creating chalk art is a simple and cheap activity, but it’s one that’s extremely powerful and has the potential to lift people’s spirits during this tough time.