A Library Visit A Day Keeps the Summer Blues Away

If you haven’t been to the George F. Johnson Memorial Library today, you might want to take a trip there before it rains to see an amazing display of community art!

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As part of their jam-packed summer programming, the George F. Johnson Memorial Library hosted a Chalk Art Extravaganza Wednesday featuring artist Eric Maruscak. The Chenango Arts Council supports both the Binghamton Poetry Project and the library’s summer programming, so I had the pleasure of auditing this workshop.

Maruscak gave a brief lesson and then set everyone loose to decorate their own sidewalk square in front of the library. Kids, adults, and teens all stood around him as he instructed us in colors, layers, smudging, and other techniques.

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The kids shouted answers to his questions and had plenty questions of their own as Maruscak walked around the concrete squares helping people one by one. Soon, the sidewalk was a splash of color and imagination.

Some used their whole square.

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Some worked methodically.

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There were many impressive displays.

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IMG_3050Watching all the drawing, I got swept up in the spirit and decided to do my own square. I learned to press down hard on the eraser and move it in a circular motion to work the chalk into the crevices of the sidewalk.

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But the event wasn’t just instructional, it was a chance for the community to come together as well. Parents caught up with each other, an army of children ran in a circle around a teenager who was acting as a maypole in the grass, and library staff, like Erin Singleton, seemed to know all the kids by name. Maruscak commented on the community aspect and the way people pick up techniques for chalk art in a short period of time. Everybody was engaged and enjoying the weather and each other’s company while making the library more beautiful.

And making our hands more beautiful as well…

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Maruscak’s work can be seen on YouTube. You can find out more information about him on his website. To see more of the library’s programming visit their website.

I hope everyone will join us for our last event of the summer, the Final Reading for the summer workshops at the Broome County Public Library on 8/8 at 3pm in the garden gazebo. Poets who participated in workshops will read their poetry and light refreshments will be served. All are welcome!

In the meantime, consider chalking up your driveway or sidewalk. It’s a great stress relief. You can even add a poem on the side.

Heather Dorn

BPP Director

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