Saturday, June 12, dawned bright and sunny, a perfect day for Moberly Area Community College’s first Art on the Block festival. Workers hurried to put up tents and tables and to organize art supplies before the first family arrived at 10 a.m. sharp. And from then on, the day whizzed by in a flurry of chalk dust, spray paint and tie-dye mixed with the strains of a banjo and a few rainsticks.
Art on the Block was the brainchild of MACC President Dr. Evelyn Jorgenson. Dr. Jorgenson, whose bachelors degree is in Fine Arts, wanted the opportunity to give something of cultural value back to the Moberly area and hosting a free day of art for Moberly families was the perfect event to do just that.
“It began as a sidewalk chalk contest, and suddenly after a few committee meetings, grew into an entire festival. I’m so pleased with this first year’s effort and am looking forward to what we can plan for next year. Our MACC team did an amazing job! I had a great time, myself, and even had fun creating a chalk drawing,“ commented Dr. Jorgenson.
Art on the Block is a chance for people to observe professional artists at work and to get in on the action and create some art of their own. Professional artists created chalk art panels, which were on display and also created sidewalk art throughout the day. Anyone could sign up to compete in the sidewalk chalk competition where they had the opportunity to win the grand prize of an art party, free MACC art class or one of the chalk art pieces on display. The winners of the various categories were: Home Grown Graffiti and People’s Choice, Mario Brennan; Clearly Classic, Allie & Aryn Jorgensen; Funky Fab, Janie Malone, Dusty Albertson, & Morning Clay; Judges’ Choice and the Grand Prize Winner, Ray & Marilyn Craighead. Ray chose a free MACC art class as his grand prize.
Sidewalk chalk wasn’t the only attraction at Art on the Block sponsored also by the Rollins Street Neighborhood Association which set up a Lemonade Stand and the Moberly Area Council on the Arts which had a table advertising its next season’s events. There were rhythm instruments from Arnold Music to bang around on and rainsticks and kazoos to make. There were clowns making balloon animals and face painters creating anything kids could think of to put on their cheeks. Attendees could tie-dye a t-shirt for a few bucks or wrap themselves or a friend in packing tape to create a tape sculpture. There was an entire tent filled with recycled stuff just waiting to be made into some amazing sculpture. Sculpture and Pottery Adjunct Instructor, Fergus Moore was on the pottery wheel demonstrating how to throw pots and manning a booth where aspiring sculptors could sculpt their own piece using clay. Sculptors could leave their piece to be fired in a kiln and picked up later. Silkscreen demonstrations and hands-on screen-printing drew a crowd as well. One of the biggest hits was the perfectly legal graffiti action going on near the north end of the lawn. Kids were allowed to add their own graffiti art to a truck parked in the grass. It was one colorful piece of metal by the end of the day. A gallery exhibition was on display featuring the artwork of the MACC Art Faculty in the Graphic Arts Fine Arts Gallery.
Adding to the festive atmosphere was the banjo picking of Lonnie Garrison and strolling violinist Alisha Maples. Heap on some great food from the Little Dixie Lunch Basket and loads of free popcorn and you’ve got a recipe for a fun day.
“We had no idea what to expect since this was the first year,” explained Art on the Block organizer and Dean of Academic Affairs, Dr. Paula Glover, “but thanks to a ton of work from our committee and MACC volunteers, Art on the Block has been a huge success and a lot of fun for everyone, all of us at MACC included!”
The crowds were still coming in the afternoon as volunteers quickly packed up Art on the Block amid threatening clouds. A typical summer thunderstorm rolled in washing away every speck of the colorful masterpieces on the streets and sidewalks. By evening, there was not a single shred of evidence attesting to the loads of fun created on the MACC front lawn at the first Art on the Block.
Mario Brennan, Home Grown Graffiti and People’s Choice winner in the Sidewalk Chalk Contest, shows off his creation.
Ray Craighead, Judges’ Choice and Grand Prize Winner in the Sidewalk Chalk Contest, poses with an alien tape sculpture as he accepts his prize of a free MACC art class.
Allie & Aryn Jorgensen were the Clearly Classic winners in the Sidewalk Chalk Contest.