Independence residents have been spreading encouragement and positivity to others through sidewalk chalk.
| 11:41 a.m. April 2, 2020
If you’ve been beating cabin fever by walking around your Horizon West neighborhood lately, it’s likely that you’ve seen some incredible chalk art and words of encouragement.
With the Chalk Your Walk nationwide movement, residents are using chalk on sidewalks and driveways to spread messages of positivity and draw artwork to bring a smile to people’s faces.
In the Independence community, residents were given complimentary chalk and encouraged to “spread joy and inspiration through the power of sidewalk chalk.” They could then post photos of their chalk art to be entered into a raffle for a prize.
“I saw another community in another state doing it and I shared a post … we posted that on the Independence community group and then everything started to post about it,” resident Jennifer Benton said. “Our lifestyle director, Tim Gesing, talked to the HOA and got them involved and even offered prizes. He’s still trying to do his part in keeping the community involved, too, while following the orders that we have. Chalk Your Walk was definitely driven by the community, and Tim took it to the next level.”
Benton said other Horizon West communities — including Orchard Hills, Summerlake, Hamlin and Summerport — have jumped on the Chalk Your Walk movement, too.
Those walking through these neighborhoods are likely to see an array of positive messages — “Stand tall,” “This too shall pass,” “Distance your hands, not your hearts,” “Peace and health to all who pass this way” — as well as mosaics of colored paver stones and fun artwork.
In the Independence community, one resident shared her drawing of baby Yoda. Another took on the task of drawing various Pokémon, such as Squirtle and Bulbasaur. Rainbows also are commonplace as a symbol of hope following a storm. Another resident drew a hopscotch game and included some stones nearby.
“Being able to put comments like ‘Stand tall’ — and I’ve seen other people say, ‘We’re all in this together,’ ‘We love you, keep going’ and all of that — they’re just really nice comments I don’t think people would have said otherwise.” — Melissa Cress
Independence resident Melissa Cress and her family enjoyed some time in the sun chalking the sidewalk outside their home last week. It started with herself and her youngest son, Joshua, working on a pink flamingo accompanied by the words, “Stand tall.” They moved on to an outer-space drawing and soon were joined by Cress’ daughter, Kendall, and her friend, Abigail Heritage.
“We got the idea from the Independence Facebook site and went from there,” Melissa Cress said. “We had a lot of fun. I really appreciate that (the HOA) has embraced it, because we do have pretty strict guidelines that we have to follow as a neighborhood … but to know that we can kind of put our guard down for a little bit and just enjoy each other is nice. Being able to put comments like ‘Stand tall’ — and I’ve seen other people say, ‘We’re all in this together,’ ‘We love you, keep going’ and all of that — they’re just really nice comments I don’t think people would have said otherwise.”
While creating their chalk art, Kendall Cress and Heritage teamed up for a couple of hours to work on a color-melting sunset that took a lot of effort.
“I thought it sounded fun, and it was cute,” Kendall Cress said of the Chalk Your Walk movement, adding next her inspiration for the sunset. “I was thinking, ‘Let’s go to the beach,’ but we can’t, so we brought the beach to us.”
Heritage also drew one of the bees from “The Bee Movie,” inspired by the movie the two had watched the night before. She said Chalk Your Walk has been a great way to look past the gloom and uncertainty brought on by the coronavirus pandemic.
“We’re painting all these happy things, and it makes it feel like the times aren’t as bad as they are,” Heritage said. “I’m not stuck inside right now — we were out having fun painting and chalking together.”
For Melissa Cress, one of the benefits of everything that has happened in the last few weeks — and a benefit, too, of Chalk Your Walk — is that people have been more apt to spread some positivity and inspire others.
“Even when my husband and I go out and ride our bikes in the evening, when we pass other people, they’re saying hi, which a couple of weeks ago people wouldn’t have done that,” Melissa Cress said. “I think a lot of this chalk art had something to do with it, too.”