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‘Paint the Downtown with Love’

Chalk art festival and fundraiser set for June 25-26 in Marquette

Sauli Taylor takes part in the 2020 chalk art fundraising festival for the Upper Peninsula Children’s Museum. Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, last year’s event took place on people’s driveways, but this year, it will happen on the sidewalks of downtown Marquette. (Photo courtesy of Nheena Weyer Ittner)

MARQUETTE — What town doesn’t need more color, especially in these challenging times?

The Upper Peninsula Children’s Museum invites the community to “Paint the Downtown with Love,” a chalk art fundraising festival scheduled for noon to 3 p.m. June 25-26 in downtown Marquette during Art Week.

The museum invites everyone in the community to take part, with the museum providing all supplies and assigning each artist or team a sidewalk.

Nheena Weyer Ittner, director of the UPCM, said this is the eighth year such a chalk art event has been held, but 2020, of course, was a little different because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Last year, because of COVID, we switched it to people’s own driveways,” Ittner said. “We had been doing it as part of Harvest Festival every other year, which was blocking off Baraga Avenue.”

Mattias Taylor, left, and Neil Cumberlidge take part in the 2020 chalk art fundraising festival for the Upper Peninsula Children’s Museum. Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, last year’s event took place on people’s driveways, but this year, it will happen on the sidewalks of downtown Marquette. (Photo courtesy of Nheena Weyer Ittner)

This year, sidewalks are the focus.

“Anybody can paint,” Ittner said. “Anybody. I mean, little kids, old people.”

She stressed the event is free, although she suggests people register at www.upchildrensmuseum.org so she can ensure the proper amount of paint is available.

Paint and supplies such as paintbrushes and containers can be picked up during the event.

However, people can take part in Paint the Downtown with Love on a whim.

“We’re happy to take ‘walk-ins,'” Ittner said. “You never know with a festival like that, with Art Week. People might be wandering around and see it’s there. ‘Oh, I think I want to do that.’ We just want love everywhere.”

Prizes also will be awarded in different categories, such as “Best on Concrete,” she said.

Ittner said chalk paint — a recipe consisting of paint and corn starch — will be used.

“It gives a chalky kind of surface, and it’s all nontoxic paint,” Ittner said. “It’s not harmful to any environment. It just washes away with the next rain.”

Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan and Eagle Mine are the big event sponsors, Ittner said. For a complete sponsor list, visit the museum’s Facebook page. All sponsors’ names will be written on the sidewalks.

“It’s just going to be fun,” Ittner said.

Christie Mastric can be reached at 906-228-2500, ext. 250. Her email address is cbleck@miningjournal.net

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