Kiddies Enjoy Sidewalk Games, Chalking
by Charlie McCulloch
the Oberlin summer fades into fall, it is important to remember
to get out of town before the pressure of classes and the gray blanket
of autumn descend upon us. At just about this time in September
every year, the Cleveland Museum of Art hosts its annual Chalk Festival,
inviting us to savor some of the last remaining lazy days of summer.
Whether you rent a small space for yourself or a large one to enjoy
with friends, for less than the cost of a movie, the museum bestows
upon you a small piece of pavement canvas and a brand new box of
professional pastel chalk with which to create your masterpiece.
A small square and box of 12 colors costs a mere five dollars, while
a large square and 24 colors costs only 10.
After a great lunch at Soul Vegetarian, only a few minutes away
at 2240 Lee Rd in Cleveland Heights, we arrived at the museum and
got to work. For our creation, Lee Dolan and I composed a violent
nighttime seascape: a deep and highly introspective lone lighthouse
on a rocky shore.
As we drew, we were entertained by a Latin band and the smiling
faces of children chased by giant alien puppets, which were in turn
chased by the parents of the children. After a couple hours of sketching,
blending and fading, we were finished with what we thought would
surely beat anything the competition had to offer. Although beauty
is always in the eye of the beholder, I definitely had to concede
defeat to the a Japanese koi garden, complete with perfect swimming
fish and bricks real enough to pick up. We had to give it up to
a surrealist sunscape complete with flying orange and pink salmon.
The chalk drawing, though, is only a part of the fun. After you
have completed your work of artistic genius you dont have
to go home. Whether you enjoy dancing with the old men in front
of the band, smearing your dirty fingers on the face of your partner
or just checking out the artistry of others, simply soaking up the
atmosphere is well worth the time.
One of the many great things about the museum is its location: 11150
East Blvd. After meeting up with friends at the festival, we were
only a few minutes drive away from milkshakes at Tommys, and
browsing through all the junk and toys at Big Fun (both on Coventry),
providing a perfect end to a warm, sunny day outside the confines
Although the Chalk festival is over, you never need an excuse to
enjoy the expansive collection of the Cleveland Museum, or one of
its special exhibitions. Right now you can go check out Starlight:
David Stephenson Photographs, 18th and 19th Century French Prints,
or French Drawings From the Collection of Muriel Butkin. Ask a friend
out for a classy afternoon at the museum or an inventive piece of
cinema at the Cinematheque across the street. End the day with a
not-quite-Stevie dinner of gnocchi and pizza in little Italy, only
a few blocks away on Mayfield Road.
When the confines of Oberlin make you bored or angsty, just remember
that an inspiring, artsy world awaits you, only 50 minutes away.
by Lee Dolan