Staff Notes

STAFF NOTE | LET’S CHALK ABOUT IT: This Year Marks ChalkFest’s 15th Year

from Volume One Community Engagement Director Joann Martin

Joann Martin, photos by Andrea Paulseth |

There’s something beautiful about the impermanence of sidewalk chalk. It’s not necessarily a simple medium, but it’s certainly one almost everyone has tried and enjoyed at some point in their lives! When Volume One kicked off the first Chalkfest back in 2008, I’m not sure anyone thought it would grow the way it has over the last 15 years. Wilson Park started as the perfect spot for a chalk art event. Plenty of sidewalk, shade, and lawn space for music and games. But after six years, it became clear that participation and interest was outgrowing the park’s modest number of sidewalk squares.

This year we had 178 artists on the UW-Eau Claire campus mall share their talent and imagination. Chalkfest is my favorite summer event and I know I’m not the only person who marks their calendar for it every year. It’s amazing to see the variety of nostalgic characters, pop culture references, and photorealistic creations. What’s even more inspiring for non-artistic folks like myself, these people do it in 8 hours or less! Chalkfest is about enjoying a favorite summer activity before the rain comes to wash it all away. I’m already looking forward to next year. Check out this year’s winners at