Back in 1994, Artist and friend Phil Roberts (above photo) was invited to be the featured artist at the Santa Barbara “I Madonnari” Chalk Drawing Festival. Phil asked me (Mark Wagner) to help him create a 8 x 20 ft. chalk drawing of Michelangelo’s “The Last Judgment.” We would have 6 days and $. I told Phil that I had never chalk drawn before and I wondered if I would hold him back, he said “nah, I’ll have you up and running in a day.” And so it was and such a great experience.
Fast forward. I’ve been chalk drawing in festival ever since – 18 years. Now comes 4 different lines that converge to create the Kids’ Chalk Art Project. Chalk drawing, elementary school, and a men’s group called the East Bay Nation of Men (Ebnom), and Google Earth.
1) In 2003 Youth in Arts , the chalk drawing festival in San Raphael CA, created one of the largest old master chalk drawing, Michelangelo’s ceiling of the Sistine Chapel. I was one of the artists working on this big collaborative project, it took dozens of people and 6 days to create a 25 x 65 foot chalk drawing.
2) My kids were now in elementary school in Alameda CA. I was being an art docent which is a parent volunteer program that brings art into the classrooms. I looked around and was curious why there were paid music teachers but NO art teachers at all. As a professional artist and educator I know that whatever all the reasons were and are, that this is wrong. It’s not a way to invest wisely into our kids and into the future of our country and into the world. Not nurturing kid’s creative spirit is in my opinion is suicide. Supporting and inspiring kid’s creative spirit is planting seeds in fertile soil and one of the best things we can offer up to the local community and world. Anyone who is able to be creative in any and ever situation in their lives is free, powerful, alive, aware, able to choose, and be of service to businesses, community, relationships, and to themselves.
3) Ebnom is a local non denominational men’s group that supports men, families, and community, and has a wonderful sense of spirit and is filled with a bunch of amazing big hearted guys. I was at one of the events and a man stood up and asked,”What would you do if you have 40 men and all their assets (time, tools, and energy)…. got a DREAMS?” I had never been asked this question before and so I thought about it for two weeks.
4) When I first got on Google Earth, I zoomed down into my kid’s elementary school playground and I saw the chalk drawing that we had done that year with all the kids.
Then I had the vision, all four lines came together, the question, the recent chalk drawing adventure, and my experience in elementary school being an art docent and seeing that something was missing, and seeing a chalk drawing by kids from a satellite photograph.
Let’s create the world’s largest chalk drawing, break the Guinness World Record, inspire humanity, get a satellite photograph of it, and create some cash flow to help get art teachers back into the elementary schools, and more.
PLEASE CONTRIBUTE NOW to the Kids Chalk Art Project.