BOUNTIFUL -- Renee Johnson loves the feeling she gets when she is drawing on the sidewalk with people walking by and talking with her. She will participate in the annual Chalk on the Sidewalk festival again this year, using her artistic talents to create beautiful work for everyone to enjoy.
The sixth annual chalk festival runs from 9 a.m. to dark daily May 12 through 14, and ending at 2 p.m. on May 15. Artists are invited to join the fun along downtown Main Street. Those not wanting to draw may visit with artists or just view the colorful artwork. In case of inclement weather, the festival will be postponed to a later weekend.
Johnson has contributed to the event every year but one since the beginning, and she has two daughters who join in the fun. Last year her daughter Alicia drew a great big whale with Nemo and his daddy in front of it, and was the featured youth artist. Renee drew a scene from "Twilight: New Moon" and said people would stop and talk to her about the movie.
"It's fun to get down and messy and to play with color," she added.
Alicia is now an art student at Utah State University, but she will be back to draw on the sidewalk again this year.
Her younger daughter will be working with a friend as she did last year. They decide what to draw and work on it as a team.
The Joy Foundation put on the event with Jane Joy putting her heart into it.
"It started as a vehicle to help kids know they are part of a community," Joy said. "They get to work with professionals. It makes them feel good."
There are no vendors at the event, there are just beautiful things drawn on the sidewalks. According to Joy, there are some families who have made it a tradition to participate. The event is free to artists and is paid for by sponsors who donate money for T-shirts and the sidewalk pastels.
A contest for elementary children is held with a $50 prize for the winner.
"It makes them feel really important and special," Joy said.
About three elementary schools take children on field trips to the event. Each child gets a special spot marked off on the sidewalk to draw on.
If you have to ask why artists would put so much work into a piece of art that will just be washed away, you don't know the heart of an artist, Joy said.
"I liken it to a sunset: you enjoy it and then it goes away," Joy said.
Some artists come all three days of the event and some even set up camp and stay all night.
"My favorite part is the little kids. Their drawings are unique and colorful. I know the kids have a blast. They are budding artists," Johnson said.
At least 50 artists sign up to participate, but many more show up when busloads of students come as well as people who attend and get the urge to draw once they are there. Also there is a place set aside for the Special Needs Mutual, said Johnson.
"There are some really nice pieces done by those who don't sign up," Johnson said.
The Joy Foundation is still looking for sponsors for the event. Business owners and interested others may call Jane Joy at (801) 349-5778.