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Alta High students Chalk the Walk with famous art reproductions

Oct 04, 2017 11:57AM ● Published by Julie Slama

Alta High School students re-create famous works on art using sidewalk chalk.

Gallery: Chalk the Walk [2 Images] Click any image to expand.

Alta High senior Britton Gross loves drawing crabs, so it was a given that that was the subject matter of his Chalk the Walk drawing, which he drew with partner Josh Stephenson, also a senior, for their “famous paintings of pets” entry.

“I had never used chalk for drawing before, but this sounded fun,” Britton said, adding that he and his classmate both have taken Painting I. 

So the two settled on the back patio area at Alta High, and in their allotted space reproduced Vincent Van Gogh’s 1889 oil painting “Two Crabs.”

Josh likes to work with chalk.

“It’s easier to blend and we can draw and create cool art with it,” he said. “Everyone here has amazing talent and skill, but it’s also just a great opportunity to hang out and enjoy our creativity.”

By everyone, he means 44 two-member teams who had four hours to draw horses, cats, dogs and other critters made famous in abstracts, with hopes of being on the cover of the “Saturday Evening Post.” 

Senior Ashia Chen teamed up with junior Alisha Yockey to re-create a famous Andy Warhol painting.

“We looked online for ideas, then once we found one we wanted to enter, we submitted our painting beforehand for approval,” Chen said. 

Yockey, who participated last year, said it’s a good break from classwork.

“It’s been fun to do,” she said. “It’s harder than it looks, bending over all the time and my hand gets raw from rubbing at the chalk to blend it, but still, it’s great to take the day off and focus on something else.”

The high school students were excused from class to participate in the judged contest, said Katie Campbell, who is the art department chair.

“We want to give students the chance to appreciate famous works of art and also learn the process of re-creating them in groups,” Campbell said. “This is about having fun and creating art with chalk. Some of our student have taken art classes and some have not, but it’s a great way to bring our school together through art.”

Campbell said the event also is a learning activity — students learn how to draw their artwork to a grid and learn chalk techniques. 

The event also allows other students — those not drawing — a chance to observe.

“This gives artistic as well as non-artistic students the opportunity to view the creative process and appreciate reproductions of famous works of art,” she said.

The Chalk the Walk event began in 1985 by Doug Allen, and the school has held it annually, weather permitting.

AP art history students as well as faculty and staff judge the entries. The winning team of Sydney Boyter and Summer Wood received $50 for their reproduction of Pablo Picasso’s “Guernica.” Second place went to Tristen Pillow and Taylor Neil for their re-creation of “Cow.” A tie for third was “Chat Noir” by Zeta Bsharah and Alyssa Larsen and “Lait Pur” by Madison Demercy and Emily Corry.

Junior Makayla Jones and sophomore Lydia Stueber appreciated learning the techniques and knew it wasn’t just about winning.

“We do it because we love art and it’s relaxing,” Jones said.

“And it’s fun,” Stueber added.  

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