Minnesota Prairie Roots

Writing and photography by Audrey Kletscher Helbling

Beyond simply chalk art August 27, 2020

Filed under: Uncategorized — Audrey Kletscher Helbling @ 5:01 AM
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Chalk art by Jane.

 

SIMPLY PASSING BY without acknowledgment of something we appreciate is so easy. We all do it, right? Admire something from afar, and then continue on our way. And Randy and I did just that, even though he asked if we should stop. “Maybe on the way home,” I said.

“She’ll be gone by then,” Randy surmised.

At that point, I was more interested in getting to North Alexander Park for a short evening walk than in photographing a chalk art artist. I appreciated her efforts from the comfort of our passing van and figured if I remembered the art on our return trip, fine. If not, fine, too.

And so we enjoyed our evening trail walk, which included geese and squirrel watching, and a pass through the Rice County Fairgrounds as we headed back toward home along Second Avenue. Nearing the intersection with Seventh Street, Randy repeated his “Do you want to stop?” question.

This time I agreed.

 

Jane, at work, with her angel heart wings in the foreground.

 

And I’m glad I did. Or I never would have met Jane, a lovely young woman who looks about 10 years younger than her mid-twenties age. She sat on a sidewalk step at a house along Seventh Street, chalk in hand, creating art.

 

 

 

As I admired the flowers, turtle, angel heart wings, peace symbol and smiley face, and took photos, Jane and I chatted for a bit. She shared a glimpse into her life story. There have been struggles.

 

 

But here she was, exuding joy in our conversation, in the sweet smile gracing her face. I saw grit and determination there, too, as she focused on creating art. Her fingers, dusted with chalk, worked art onto the sidewalk. She was creating this public art to bring joy to others. I thanked her for that effort. That gift.

 

Chalk, Jane’s tool of choice on this summer evening.

 

Art, Jane says, is her passion. She’s also painted with acrylics, had some art training. Nothing formal.

 

Jane’s art stretches along the sidewalk in front of her Seventh Street residence.

 

I felt compelled to encourage this young woman as I asked about her plans. She’s uncertain about her future. I advised her to follow her passions in life, that life is too short to not do what you love. And that money isn’t everything. Things aren’t everything. But happiness is. I sensed she already knows this.

 

 

I complimented her, too, on her smile and Jane confirmed others have told her the same, how beautiful her smile. It was genuine, coming from deep within. From a place that has experienced challenges and overcome them. To create art. Bright and bold and beautiful.

 

© Copyright 2020 Audrey Kletscher Helbling

 

12 Responses to “Beyond simply chalk art”

  1. Kiandra Judge Says:

    Beautiful! A sweet and lovely interaction. Thank you for sharing

  2. valeriebollinger Says:

    So nice of you to take time on your way home to capture this young artist!

  3. “chalk art” is a fun way to bring a plain old sidewalk to life. It was nice of you and Randy to stop by and chat with her. I’m sure not many make that effort.

  4. Susan Ready Says:

    The gift of creating such joyful public art is to be admired. Hope she is able to pursue her art interests in other forms. Did you tell her abut your sidewalk art poems?

    • I haven’t had poems posted on sidewalks, but on signs as part of the Mankato Poetry Walk & Ride. I just generally mentioned that I’ve followed my passions in life and let her and her art center our conversation.

  5. Love this– especially the smiley face.

  6. These are beautiful. Thank you for sharing part of her story


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