One year, during his 25-year tenure as Greeley Central’s art teacher, Ed Rogers once tried to have his students create a chalk drawing around the high school.
This time, the goal’s much bigger.
At Greeley’s first Chalk A Lot all day Saturday, Rogers, who retired in 2007, thought it would be fun to go for the Guinness World Record for the longest continuous chalk art drawing. The goal is 3.7 miles long, and Jenna, Germany, holds the record. Rogers said Jenna’s population isn’t much different from Greeley, even if Jenna did have 5,000 school kids helping to break it (and the city did send out flyers to elementary school kids). The University of Northern Colorado pitched in by offering up a spot on campus, and the Block Party is this weekend, so he’s hopeful students will not only stick around but do their part and draw on a square. And it’s drawing with chalk. It’s not like they’re expecting a bunch of Mona Lisas.
“Chalk is a forgiving medium,” Rogers said. “You can’t really make mistakes with it. Sometimes art events can be very intimidating, but with the nature of this event, it will be social more than anything else.”
If you are intimidated despite Rogers soothing reassurances, art coaches will help with suggestions, lessons and instructions, all without yelling. The chalk is free. You also won’t have to do the world record on your own. Participants will get their own square. Don’t know what to draw? Nature is the theme.
Rogers, who was thinking of a way to get the Creative District a little more attention as a board member, was a little surprised the city went for his proposal. He shouldn’t be, said Becky Safarik, the assistant city manager.
“It was cheap, free and something fun and a little out of the ordinary,” Safarik said of the event, which cost the city about $8,000.
It was perfect for Greeley, in other words. The city may make it an annual festival, although that partly depends on Saturday’s response to it.
The city will pursue the record, but that’s not the real reason to host the chalk drawing festival, Safarik said.
“The record is incidental to a fun day,” she said.
That’s the way Rogers is approaching it as well. He still remembers that day at Greeley Central when his students circled the school with chalk as one of his most fun.
“We only went a short way,” Rogers said, “but we had a great time.”