Grafton students create new Sidewalk Chalk Festival to raise funds for community event

Students distribute flyers


The local Espresso Yourself Coffee House in Grafton has become a community gathering space for people of all ages, including a group of creative Grafton High School students who participate in the school’s theatre and show choir group, band, and are also art students. These students meet at the local coffee house to hang out, create art together, and simply have a good time.

One quiet afternoon, the students were spending time together at the shop when they began creating art outside using sidewalk chalk. They spent hours with owner, Donna Hart, outside enjoying the nice weather and having fun. Two ladies stopped by for coffee during this time that were traveling from California. They decided to join in.

They explained to the students that sidewalk chalk festivals were something that happened regularly in California. Donna and the students began to wonder why something like that couldn’t be done right here in Grafton, WV.

We worked with the students to help them think through all of the details so that they would learn how to plan a community event. The group decided that this would be a fundraiser for the community’s annual ArtStock to be held this September.

These students, currently juniors and seniors in high school, are working to establish the event, and then bring in new students in each year to continue the trend of this being a student-run event. The event brings youth involvement and leadership into Grafton’s community development efforts.

Emily and Rachel Rock, GHS Juniors, have worked diligently to determine the date and times of the event, create and hang fliers, talk with the City Manager for event approval, go door to door of local business owners, and work out event details.

They decided to create different categories to be judged where fellow students – Emily, Rachel, and Hunter Neel – and the Director of the Taylor County Arts Council, Beth Flanery, would determine a variety of winners.

The event fundraiser is scheduled to be held on Saturday, August 25, 10 am – 3 pm. The entry fee is $5.00 per participant and includes one sidewalk square. Participants are asked to bring sidewalk chalk with them.

The event will be held on Grafton’s W Main Street in the downtown area where Grafton City Hospital will be setup with water and extra chalk.

Event judging will begin at 2 pm and prizes will be awarded to category winners. The group hopes that the fundraiser will provide fun for families and people of all ages and help support the Taylor County Arts Councils initiative to have Grafton named as an Arts Community. For questions, reach out to me or contact Buffalo Flats Artist Association on Facebook.

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