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Australians spreading joy with sidewalk chalk talk artworks

David Aidone, April 30, 2020 8:45AM News Corp Australia Network

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This chalk art was posted on Instagram with the message: "T H A N K Y O U to our healthcare heroes and all essential workers helping us through this pandemic! Sending so much love and light your way." Picture: @karabellaa/Instagram media_cameraThis chalk art was posted on Instagram with the message: "T H A N K Y O U to our healthcare heroes and all essential workers helping us through this pandemic! Sending so much love and light your way." Picture: @karabellaa/Instagram

arts

Reading level: green

Australia has joined a global movement working to cover footpaths with beautiful chalk artworks to spread joy during COVID-19 restrictions.

Social media has been flooded with images of everything from Disney characters to messages of hope as Aussies take their chalk to the sidewalk.

Many say the colourful artworks are a way to keep children entertained, while others believe it promotes a sense of community and provides meaning to their lives.

media_cameraFun for kids out on the footpath by Stacy Lazzara. Picture: @stacylazzara/Instagram

Cat Romanczukiewicz is among those who have taken part, working with her tattoo-artist husband Chook to brighten up footpaths in her neighbourhood.

Ms Romanczukiewicz, from Bacchus Marsh north west of Melbourne, Victoria, said it was a way the couple could give back to the community and provided them with an artistic outlet.

“Chook is a tattooist and has not been able to work. It is important to give something back to people and to give them a moment’s joy especially during these times,” Ms Romanczukiewicz said.

media_cameraPikachu from Pokeman spreading some rainbow joy and light in Bacchus Marsh, Vic. Picture: Facebook/Rainbow Trail Melbourne

Some of their drawings feature well-known cartoon characters, including Pokemon character Pikachu, and Goku from Dragon Ball Z. And while that might seem novel*, there is social commentary behind all of them, with a “rainbow twist”.

She said one piece featuring Disney’s Princess Jasmine and Rick and Morty from the adult Scifi animation of the same name showed how much the world had changed during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“(It) really hit the premise* that we are in a whole new world that doesn’t look the same as before, despite some familiar elements*,” she said.

She said their displays “gave them a sense of purpose”, and added many parents had used the art to encourage children to get outside and exercise.

Coronavirus Kindness media_cameraYoung artists in a Cannon Hill, Qld, driveway. Picture: AAP

Artist Sebastian Smith has been decorating the footpath out the front of his home in Dapto, Wollongong, NSW, much to the delight of local residents.

His vibrant chalk drawings featuring Disney favourites from Beauty and the Beast, The Little Mermaid and Aladdin also attracted hundreds of likes online.

“It’s very Disney inspired, cause (sic*) I think Disney has the magic that makes people feel happy,” Mr Smith wrote on Instagram.

media_cameraSleeping beauty on the footpath by Casey Drake. Picture: @caseydrakemakes/Instagram

In Howlong near Albury, NSW, Josie Taylor and her daughter Tanisha gussied up* the streets with geometric patterns featuring heartfelt* messages of support to essential workers and the community.

“Thanks to all essential workers,” one read, while others said “love” and “courage”.

media_cameraAustralia has joined a global trend in decorating footpaths with chalk drawings this one in Howlong, NSW.

And up on Queensland’s Sunshine Coast, Alina Melbourne showed off a spectacular Peppa Pig, Pokemon and Sonic the Hedgehog mashup*.

“This weeks creations for the kiddies,” she captioned a social media post of her work, which received more than 100 likes.

media_cameraPeppa Pig’s family star in chalk on the Sunshine Coast, QLD. Picture: Alina Melbourne

GLOSSARY

  • novel: new
  • premise: idea behind something
  • elements: parts
  • sic: used to show the reader it is exactly as the person spoke or wrote
  • gussied up: dressed up very smartly
  • heartfelt: from the heart, with great feeling
  • mashup: things mixed together

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QUICK QUIZ

  1. What are three possible benefits of the chalk art?
  2. What does Chook usually do for work?
  3. Why does Sebastian like drawing Disney characters?
  4. Where is Howlong?
  5. What two characters has Alina Melbourne drawn this week?

LISTEN TO THIS STORY

CLASSROOM ACTIVITIES
1. Design Your Own!
Create a design for a chalk artwork that you think would be great to spread some happiness in your neighbourhood or community.

Time: allow 30 minutes to complete this activity
Curriculum Links: English, Visual Arts

2. Extension
Think of things that you think that kids and adults could do to stay positive during COVID-19 restrictions. Write a list of at least six activities or actions. Create a colourful poster that will encourage you and the people in your house to do these things.

Time: allow at least 20 minutes to complete this activity
Curriculum Links: English, Personal and Social Capability

VCOP ACTIVITY
Punctuation Pursuit
After reading the article, with a partner, highlight as many pieces of punctuation as you can find in green. Discuss how these are being used, where and how often. What level of the punctuation pyramid is the journalist using in this article?

HAVE YOUR SAY: What would you draw or write to spread joy?
No one-word answers. Use full sentences to explain your thinking. No comments will be published until approved by editors.

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