Chalk it up to a good cause on Saturday

Times Observer file photo Chunks of Liberty Street will be set aside for artists Saturday morning as Sidewalk Chalk returns to downtown Warren.

Chunks of Liberty Street will be set aside for artists Saturday morning as Sidewalk Chalk returns to downtown Warren.

Works created at ground level over a period of three hours will be judged immediately and will last until something comes along and washes them off.

Registration opens at 9 a.m. and artists can begin as soon as they are signed up and have selected one or more squares.

The cost to work on a three-foot-by-three-foot square is $15. Chalk is provided. All proceeds benefit Family Services of Warren County.

There have been some refinements to the program, based on feedback from the inaugural event last year. “We were really impressed with the turn out last year and grateful for the community’s support,” Kayla Cochran of Family Services of Warren County said. “We were immediately excited in hopes of an even better turn out for this year and started planning right away. I sent out an online survey to those who attended last year and made some adjustments to this year’s event based on the feedback, such as starting at a later time and allowing for more time to draw before judging, having a rain date, and more prizes!”

“We added the age brackets to the event this year to accommodate every artist’s talents and give everyone a fair chance,” Cochran said.

“Fundraising events such as the Sidewalk Chalk Art Contest Fundraiser increases financial support for our agency and serves those in the community who need it most,” she said. “Through this event, we hope to see individuals and families come together to show support for those in need and to come together as a community to showcase how beautiful Warren County can be.”

“This event helps us provide the highest quality services to the community,” Interim Executive Director Jada DeLoof said. “We use the proceeds of these events to help fund our continuing education in the areas we see the community needs most as well as, to fund the trauma-informed movement we are making in our environment at the agency and within the community.”

“When picking a fundraising event last year we really tussled with the ideas we have used previously for fundraising but we ultimately decided we wanted to offer something that just has not been done,” DeLoof said. “Some of us struggled with not hosting a 5k but by the end of the Sidewalk Chalk it was unanimous that we had to continue to do this again.”

“This event just happens to be the perfect representation of engaging in personal wellness and self-care,” she said. “It captured the message we wanted to send to the community.

Engaging in activities that encourage self-expression, collaboration and allow for personal achievements to happen can enhance overall mental wellness and reduce symptoms of depression, anxiety, poor coping and so on and so forth.

“It really is a beautiful display of raw talent,” DeLoof said. “I really encourage everyone to come down even if they aren’t participating but to witness this art come alive. It is pretty captivating.”

We had some really awesome artists participate last year and we were truly blown away by their artistic abilities and the support they had for our community and FSWC,” Cochran said. “We have had a lot of local businesses offer sponsorships and donations towards this event, and it truly shows how much everyone would like to see our community continue to prosper and be successful.”

There are three age brackets — six to 12 years, 13 to 17 years, and 18-and-over — and works will be judged in the following categories:

¯ Most Representative of Warren;

¯ People’s Choice — a donation allows visitors to vote for their favorites;

¯ Most Creative;

¯ Best Overall (by age group); and

¯ Best Overall (whole competition).

There is no charge for those five and under to showcase their talent in the “Doodle Corner.”

There will be music, food, and beverages, and a free gift for every participant.