Re-enchanting the World through Art

So I posted about the world’s largest chalk drawing yesterday, and went down to the site myself last night and again this morning. OMG, it’s the greatest thing. I easily spent an hour just walking around the drawing and looking at all the different things the kids have done. I got an opportunity to talk to Mark Wagner, who conceived of the project in 2003 and has spent the last 2 years working to make it happen. And he’s done an amazing job! They’ve brought in literally thousands of children. Every elementary school in Alameda has been out to the site (and they all got there on the AC Transit bus #63) to draw. He’s a wonderfully nice guy (he even went out of his way to come compliment my childish looking drawing), has worked incredibly hard to coordinate the project, and I think he’s really brought something valuable to the community.

I’m not, and have never really been, an art person – that applies to both making it and looking at it. So while I found Wagner’s stories about how much the project had touched the kids working on it really sweet, I was a little bit skeptical. But once I sat down with my chalk sticks and starting drawing (and honestly, I can’t even remember the last time I drew anything. I think it must have been like 9 years ago.), I understood exactly what he was talking about. I couldn’t believe how much fun it was, and how happy it made me, and how much I felt, well, like the project’s name says, re-enchanted. I’ve been feeling pretty sad this week, and I had hoped that going down there and seeing the drawing and contributing to it would cheer me up a little, but I was completely unprepared for how much it did. I found myself, at the end of the evening, with my hair totally messed up from the insane wind out there, my formerly black clothes all of a sudden rainbow colored, my hands and legs completely caked in chalk, and in spite of all of it, I just could not stop grinning like an idiot for the rest of the night.

And then going there today to see the site filled with kids and families and this huge crowd of people just having the best time – well, I just want to commend Wagner and everyone else who worked on this for their efforts. And I hope they’ll move on to Oakland next!

Also, I took lots of pictures!

That’s AC Transit Director Chris Peeples driving my favorite bus, #1/4.

One thought on “Re-enchanting the World through Art

  1. Nancy Rieser

    I was there, too, this morning. I felt blessed to witness the beauty of this collective, creative act. A lovely way to leave to the post-election, sour despair behind, if only for a few hours. I drew and came home smudged and content.

    Looking forward to seeing the satellite photos taken from space.