A little something different this time: chalk art! It was an adventure that came about quite unexpectedly.
As we all know what actually happens is not always what was planned for, so learning to go with the flow is imperative!
In this case, during a meeting with Kelly, director of the Chesapeake Art Gallery (we originally got together to discuss the possibility of showing some of my fine art there) the topic of my Graphic Facilitation work came up. Since it’s easiest to explain this type of work by showing it in action, I showed Kelly some sample murals in my Portfolio.
Seeing that I’m used to creating large scale artwork, and accustomed to doing it live in front of people, she invited me to create some chalk art for the local summer concert series.
Had never worked in chalk before, but I was up for the challenge! It looked like a lot of fun, and was something that could be helpful to Kelly, so why not?
Kelly needed a few samples to show the local PR firm for approval, so I hopped online to do a little research, acquired some chalk, and headed outside to create some pieces to send her way (check out my Instagram feed for some examples!) She loved them and so did the folks in charge: we were on our way!
A couple weeks later here I am. Of course in those couple weeks there were a few logistical ups and downs, but all was ironed out easily enough with clarity.
On the day of the event I arrived excited, but also fatigued having just been onsite the past few days with a Graphic Facilitation gig. It was also a super hot day (heat index over 100F) to be working in the sun on black asphalt. Support during these times is essential in order to do one’s best work, and I’m very lucky and grateful to have that around me.
Once onsite and with the chalk ready to go, we still had to get the actual sites and wording that the PR firm wanted written out. Turns out they wanted 3 different locations done within 30 minutes, the final piece coinciding with the beginning of the concert! I took a deep breath, promised to do my best with their timeline, and got right to work.
This could have been very stressful, especially working out in public. But I’ve been training myself to work effectively on a specific timeline, and to be able to immerse myself in my work, regardless of who and what is going on around me (read about creating art on a timeline here).
The first two chalk art pieces went quickly, with a little interest from folks but nothing too distracting. As you can see in these photos, the final piece was another matter!
This one was both bigger and also situated where more people were gathering before the concert. Including many young families with little kids. The first little guy who came over to investigate was a bit distracting, as I still needed to get my work done, but I also felt it was important to welcome and engage with him since the whole point of this summer concert series was to provide entertainment and family fun in the local area.
Seeing this engagement encouraged others – kids and parents alike! – to come on over and grab some chalk to create their own doodles too. It turned out to be quite a fun experience to be drawing out my promised chalk art work while also supporting the little community participation that was organically going on. Occasionally folks come up and want to draw on my murals too, to be a part of the action.
At some point I just dumped out the buckets of chalk and started actively asking kids (especially the shy ones) to come on over and draw something. By the end of the evening many parents were asking if I’d be back next week because they’re always looking for local things to do with their kids. I said I hoped so, it’s been a wonderful experience for everyone – including the Gallery and PR firm who were “very pleased”.
Funny how this little adventure started out as a conversation about a fine art show, developed into a chalk art gig, and then evolved onsite into a community participation event.
As all you facilitators, trainers and talent directors out there know, learning to go with the flow is essential to the success of any onsite event.
And the definition of success may expand to include elements we hadn’t previously considered or realized were important, but that emerged in the moment. Such is the magic of going with the flow!
Got a story of an adventure that came about when you went with the flow?
Tell us the story in a blog comment below!