Sidewalk Chalk Isn’t Just for Kids

If you thought decorating the sidewalk with chalk and paint was just for kids, think again!  Tao and Amy Labossiere of Fine Art Painting, LLC  showed employees of UnitedHealth Group and passersby on Monday, June 2nd that sidewalk art can be a fun and creative break in the work day.  Not only that, but it beautified the corner of Pearl Street, causing nearly everyone to stop and look a moment.  Thankfully the weather cooperated for public artwork in downtown Hartford. UnitedHealth Group, comprised of UnitedHealthcare and Optum, kicked off their two-week United Arts Workplace Campaign with a bang by inviting anyone who wished to participate in a lively and creative public art project outside City Place on Pearl Street.  Tao & Amy Labossiere sketched out a beautiful assortment of images representing the Greater Hartford arts scene– from Anne Cubberly, a well-known Hartford puppeteer, to jazz musician Warren Byrd, to images depicting the musical and visual arts.  The process begins with sidewalk chalk, as the Labossieres create a large-scale sidewalk mural based on a computerized photograph.  Basically, they’ve created a large coloring book just waiting for someone to paint the pictures.

Then the magic happens!  We simply invited people to come paint a section of the coloring book with us.  Many were hesitant at first, not wanting to get dirty or feeling they were inadequate artists.  However, more and more people gradually took the risk to join in the fun and the reward was immense!  At one point, we had more than 30 people taking pART in the artwork!  It was an amazing sight to see– people in business attire, families, and students all working together.  Tao even sketched more images of Anne Cubberly’s puppets to provide more space for people to color!  Even those who didn’t have the time to take part or would rather observe enjoyed the experience of watching this public art piece come to life.  See the creative process by visiting the Hartford Courant, which Sidewalk Art 2took amazing pictures of the action!

As we returned to UnitedHealth Group the next day to do another creative art activity at lunch, people continued to ask whether we had anything to do with that “cool art on the sidewalk.”  Why yes, we did. And it was so much fun!  Unfortunately, the chalk and the paint are all water soluble, so they wash away with the rain.  But for a few days, that corner of Pearl Street was brightly and vibrantly celebrating the arts in Greater Hartford.  And to think that was created by a whole group of people adding their own small pieces.

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