Chalk artists to create splashy works at new street competition

Will Graham, with a chalk drawing done at a 2014 event. Submitted Photo

Troy Shantz

A new street art competition is inviting local artists to transform some pavement near Exmouth Street into brilliant canvases.

The medium for the Sept. 26 event is chalk, and 12 competitors are being chosen to compete through a juried selection, said organizer Will Graham.

“Hopefully this will give folks something to do (socially distanced of course), and help bring a little sense of normalcy back, while infusing a little extra cash into the local economy,” said Graham who, owns Sarnia’s Neon Crab Tattoos, as well as four other Southern Ontario tattoo studios and an art gallery in Courtright.

Participant will be given a six-foot by six-foot space to create their artwork while observers are welcome to watch and offer encouragement.

The Lawrence House will assist with the judging, with the top prize a photo of Sarnia from space taken by astronaut Chris Hadfield. Winners will be announced at an after party at C-Lounge, and the artists’ murals will remain in place for a few days after the one-day event.

Would-be competitors are asked to email will@neoncrab.ca with “street painter” in the subject line. The 12 selected artists will compete for free, with lunch, supper and all supplies provided by local sponsors, he said.

“It is open to anyone, established, emerging artists, amateur, professional, it doesn’t matter.”

The event is meant to give local artists exposure and generate some revenue for local businesses, said Graham, an artist in residence at the London Arts Council and a judge and featured artist at the annual Expressions In Chalk Street Painting Festival.

“I am very much involved in the communities that I have studios in,” he said.

“I’m a community guy. I believe you can’t have a healthy business unless you have a healthy community.”

The chalk art will be done on asphalt in front of Neon Crab Tattoos, at 452 Exmouth St.