For the second year, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers at Raystown Lake hosted “Chalk on the Walk”, a sidewalk chalk art competition to promote water safety awareness and promoting art in the local community.
More than 100 artists worked side by side to create their own masterpiece using only chalk and the walkway at Seven Points Beach as their canvas.
"Chalk on the Walk is one of those unique opportunities for us to effectively share our water safety message with visitors of all ages and backgrounds,” said Melissa Bean, park ranger. “People like choices and this event allows our visitors to participate in their own way as artists, or judges, or simply as casual viewers of sidewalk art."
Raystown Lake partnered with the Indiana University of Pennsylvania student chapter of the National Art Education Association (NAEA). Olivia Mays is the chapter president and also a summer park ranger at Raystown.
"Not many think of art as a tool to spread awareness on important subjects into communities but that is exactly what this event does,” Mays said. “If someone is engaged in thinking about what the problem is enough to create a piece of visual art about it, that is something that will stick in their mind. Chalk on the Walk is a great way to spread important messages in an engaging and creative way."
Artists created a variety of chalk art designs encouraging the wear of life jackets when participating in water activities including boating, swimming and fishing. There were also messages about never swimming alone or mixing alcohol with boating.
“Every year, we’ve had a great turn out and I’m surprised sometimes by the great art work that comes from the event,” Mays said. “We learn something new each year and find ways to make it even better for the next time.”
On average, more than 150 visitors drown at Corps parks every year with 92 percent of the victims not wearing a life jacket while swimming. Most people are not aware that it only takes seconds and less than a half cup of water in the lungs to drown. This event promotes the preventive measures to stay safe while visiting.
"People come to the lake to have fun and they're not always thinking safety,” Bean said. “It's a challenge to get visitors thinking and ultimately playing safer around water. Our goal is to continue Chalk on the Walk here at Raystown and help other Corps lakes promote water safety in fun and engaging ways."
Regardless of the season or activity, the Corps always promotes the use of life jackets. Circumstances can change instantly and planning for the unexpected could save your life. The majority of drowning victims have no intention of going into the water.
Raystown Lake, water safety, chalk art, sidewalk chalk, artists, Seven Points Beach, National Art Education Association, Indiana University of Pennsylvania, art education, drowning, swimming, water, boating, fishing
More than 100 artists of all ages participated in Raystown Lake’s “Chalk on the Walk”, a sidewalk art competition held on Aug. 17 to promote water safety awareness and art in the local community.