RIDGWAY — Local youth will have the chance to color their community with creativity this month.
The Elk County Council on the Arts will host a “Chalk the Walk” sidewalk decorating contest during the Ridgway Firemen’s Parade, which is part of the Ridgway Firemen’s Carnival, Saturday, July 28. The contest will be from 8 a.m. to noon at 237 Main Street in Ridgeway.
Sara Frank, who is the Executive Director of the ECCOTA, said the Sidewalk Chalk effort is just another extension of being an organization that stays involved in the community.
“We wanted to coordinate another community-oriented public art event before the end of summer, and the Ridgway Firemen’s Parade brings the whole community together,” she said. “We want to give back to the community that has supported us for so many years.”
A portion of the proceeds will be donated to the Ridgway Fire Department by the ECCOTA, after the cost of supplies is covered, Frank said.
“The Ridgway Fire Department is a vital asset to our community,” she said. “We benefit from the foot traffic their carnival and parade brings to Main Street, and this is our way of saying ‘thank you’ for everything they do.”
Founded in 1984, the ECCOTA is a sales gallery full of several types of creative talent, including sculptures, weaving, painting, handmade products, music, literature and more. More than 50 artists with their work on display have to meet certain presentation requirements in order to keep their items in the gallery.
“We always try to engage local youth, especially with our summer programming,” Frank said. “The arts are such an important part of a child’s intellectual development and overall well being.”
More than just a gallery, though, the ECCOTA hosts youth-oriented events throughout the summer, including the Visual Arts, Theatre camps and field trips.
Artists don’t have to draw anything specific, Frank said.
“It would be great to fill the sidewalks with whatever makes people happy, and depictions of what they love about their community.”
Around 40 businesses along Main Street “donate” their sidewalks for youth to express themselves, Frank said.
A set of nine colors will be provided for partipants. Artists and groups of all ages and skill levels are welcome to participate. Cash prizes will be awarded to a first place winner and a runner up. The registration fee will be waived for any artist under the age of 10. The deadline to register is July 24. For more information, visit www.eccota.com/event-2986259.