‘Chalk It Up! to turn parking lot into a canvas

PORT ANGELES — A large, free canvas awaits artists of all ages this Saturday.

During “Chalk It Up!,” the top-level parking lot of the Port Angeles Wharf, 115 E. Railroad Ave., will become a showcase for multi-hued chalk drawings, one per parking space, said Kayla Oakes, executive director of the Juan de Fuca Foundation for the Arts.

Sam Grello, general manager of the Wharf, called Oakes to suggest the project: a chalk art installation outdoors with room for physical distancing and plenty of color. He came up with the idea, he said, because the world has been on the lousy side for youngsters lately.

Back when the Wharf’s arcade was closed, “I was tired of telling little kids, ‘No, you can’t play,’ ” he said.

The arcade is back open now, as is the 1 of a Kind Art Gallery, also inside the Wharf building.

“I figured that a street chalk art event could be pulled off responsibly right now,” Grello said about his spacious parking lot.

So he and Oakes planned it out together: Families can come up and get kits with chalk and black paper for sketching, and then create a scene of something they like about their community.

All the drawing will take place from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., with each household having a parking spot of their own to decorate.

As another of JFFA’s free community art events, Saturday’s activity aims to highlight the good stuff in people’s lives, Oakes said.

“You and your household can respond to something you’re grateful for, such as sports, the snow, schools reopening, friends and, of course, music,” she said, adding that, if all goes as planned, a drone will be sent up to record aerial footage of the event.

The parking lot will be reserved for Chalk It Up! all day, so it will be free of cars. And if it rains Saturday, chalk artists can go downstairs to use the Wharf’s covered lot instead.

Each level has about 30 spaces, and if those fill up, Grello said artists can expand onto the concrete walls, pillars and patio area.

He hopes for no rain, but upper or lower lot, “kids can do something,” he said.

“We’ll have take-home kits, too, for families who can’t stay and create their drawings at the Wharf,” Oakes added.

Like the rest of the event, those kits are free.

For information about this or other music and art events presented by the Juan de Fuca Foundation, see JFFA.org, email contact@JFFA.org or phone 360-457-5411.

Jefferson County senior reporter Diane Urbani de la Paz can be reached at 360-417-3509 or durbanidelapaz@peninsuladailynews.com.