Tacoma chalk artists have their day

A group of local artists filled City Hall this week to hear Tacoma Mayor Marilyn Strickland proclaim April 6 as Chalk Art Day in Tacoma. For several years now, artists have gathered Fridays at noon at Larry L. Frost Memorial Park near Ninth and Commerce downtown for friendly chalk art competitions. The event has helped to activate a pocket park that was once destined to be closed off due to criminal activity.

“I think it is encouraging and fun,” said Strickland before reading the proclamation during the city council meeting Tuesday.

Councilmember David Boe, who has participated in the chalk off contests himself, agreed. He noted a fence was going to be put around the park and there was concern about safety. That changed when the artists decided to stage their weekly event at the park. “It is really a great event and I hope people can come down and enjoy it. To me, it is art activism at its best.”

“I’m excited to see all of our chalkies up here, occupying the City Hall dais,” commented chalk artist and local political cartoonist R. R. Anderson, who many credit for founding the event. “We’re the 99-percent of sidewalk chalk artists, busting our fingers for everyday civilian pedestrians to have a genuine personal encounter with art and real folk artists for free. Wake up, mutants! It’s Friday in America!”

For photos and video from Tuesday’s event at City Hall, visit kevinfreitas.net/blog/tacoma-declares-frost-park-chalk-001/. For more information about Tacoma’s weekly chalk off event, visit facebook.com/FrostPark.