K-ENMU hosting sidewalk chalk competition

Bright-colored chalk is meeting pavement to become art by local students again this year.

The Second annual K-ENMU Sidewalk Chalk Competition is set for April 30 on the Square, and the deadline to enter is April 1. The first 45 seventh-grade through college students to apply can participate.

“We’re building on what we’ve already done,” said event co-chairwoman Dawn Wolf-Taylor of the Portales Arts Council.

Wolf-Taylor hopes the competition will be a family event.

Along with the competition, a “free draw” event lets people of all ages create their own sidewalk art just for fun, according to a news release. Also, Eastern New Mexico University’s Kappa Kappa Psi music fraternity is arranging for live music.

“Artists really enjoy working in groups,” Wolf-Taylor said of the event’s benefit for students.

She also said the students can learn from each other as well.

Artists have three hours to complete their drawings, and first, second and third place winners receive $250, $200 and $150, respectively, according to the release.

Wolf-Taylor said judges rate drawings based on the piece’s spirit and ability to “grab” them, choosing “what’s just innovative and crazy-fun and technically well-achieved.”

Portales MainStreet provided $500 for artist-grade chalk, which covers 45 contestants.

“It’s important, we thought, to give them artist-grade materials, treat them as artists,” Wolf-Taylor said.

The free draw participants will use less expensive sidewalk chalk, however, she said.

In another new perk this year, contestants get a free lunch from Vines Italian and Mark’s restaurants as they work.

Wolf-Taylor said the arts council would someday like to include surrounding communities in the sidewalk chalk competition, but organizers are trying work out the details and do what they can with the help and sponsors they have now.

“It’s just something fun in our community,” she said of the competition. “It’s a great way to see levels of artistic endeavor happening in our community.”

The arts council, ENMU and Portales Municipal Schools are sponsoring the event. James Polk Stone Bank, Altrusa International Inc. of Portales and Wal-Mart are also contributing.