Arts & Entertainment

Richland gets something to chalk about

The Plain Jane sidewalks of the Uptown Shopping Center in Richland will be decorated in rainbow hues, fanciful storybook characters and amazing landscapes and portraits for nine hours June 12.

It's the day of the 11th annual Chalk Art Festival organized by members of the Uptown Business Improvement District.

Registration forms are available at Parties & Pages, Aunt Franny's Toys, Octopus' Garden and Amber Rose Consignment shop, all in the Uptown Shopping center.

Anyone preregistered by June 11 can deduct $2 from the entry fee. Fees are $5 for children 9 years and under, $7 for 17 years and under and $12 for anyone 18 or older.

The check-in lines, one for those who preregister and one for procrastinators, open at 9 a.m.

"Checking in always goes faster in the preregistered line," said Lynne Bostic, owner of the Amber Rose. "For them, we'll have their spot already assigned, their chalk ready and a runner to show them to their spot."

The chalk used is a special artists' blend in a full palette of intense colors.

"What some people can do with chalk is really mind-blowing," she said. "Drawings range from stick people to art that's literally blow-your-socks-off fabulous."

"We had one man who for years would do portraits of his baby. It was like looking at a photo they were so real," Bostic said.

Artists can begin as soon as they're checked in.

"We suggest people bring a towel or cushion for their knees. That cement gets really hard after a few minutes," Bostic said.

There are few rules. Patterns and photos to work from are fine or simply drawing as the spirit moves on that day. Anything goes, within good taste.

"The one big thing we ask is that each artist do their own work without outside help," she said.

Bostic said many people participate year after year, and many more simply drop by during the day to see the artwork.

The art is judged beginning at noon, with cash prizes and gift certificates awarded in the three age divisions at 3 p.m. In addition, all artists 9 years and under will get a goodie bag and a ribbon.

"Little people need lots of positive reinforcement," Bostic said.

Photographs are encouraged because the festival is short and quick.

"We literally wash it all away after 6 p.m. The longer the chalk is on the sidewalk, the harder it is to get off," she said.

Asked about rain, Bostic quickly said, "We don't mention that word."

For more information, call 943-6542.

*Loretto J. Hulse: 582-1513;