Chalk for Change brings artists and performers to Court Square for ‘hope and healing’

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SPRINGFIELD — As dozens of artists created works in Court Square on Saturday afternoon or exhibited their works, large crowds mingled in the exhibits and listened to live music.

It was all part of the Chalk for Change event sponsored by the Trust Transfer Project, Springfield Cultural Partnerships, Commonwealth Murals, Behavioral Health Network, Community Music School and the Springfield Department of Health and Human Services.

Beyond the artists working in Court Square, the event included spray paint artists creating works across the city, said Vanessa Ford, Trust Transfer Project Manager and Community Music faculty member. Springfield School.

“Our spray artists travel the city creating messages of hope and healing on permitted sidewalks,” she said. “We have a special piece of sidewalk art being done on the steps of City Hall with a special message the mayor wanted.”

Mayor Domenic J. Sarno was among those present.

“They asked me, ‘Mayor, what would you like to say to City Hall,’ and they’ve done a great job here,” Sarno said, looking at the large graffiti-style work on the steps of the building. ‘city Hall. “I wanted Springfield proud and Springfield strong. It simply brings people together from all walks of life, regardless of color, creed or background, pardon my artistic pun, which is the beautiful mosaic of the city of Springfield.

The Baystate Health Network Mobile Vaccination Clinic also set up exhibits at the event, offering on-site COVID and flu vaccinations, the Springfield Armory Museum and other agencies reaching out to the public.

Despite the name of the event, Chalk for Change, only one artist has actually used chalk in their work. Frankie Barrero carefully layered different colors of chalk on a flat black canvas to create the image of a father helping his little girl down a slide.

“Chalk is actually my favorite medium,” Barrero said. “But I’m color blind, so I have to pre-write all the colors on my sketch, so I basically know what they are on the board.”

The colors he laid on the black background are actually the opposite of what you would expect when he constructed the image.

Aerosol artist, what we usually think of as spray paint, Mark Austin was prepping the background of an image he expected to make.

“I was going to choose someone from the community and do their portrait today,” he said.

The visual artist and designer said he decided to settle in the square to help the event.

“I came to the Trust Transfer Project for the benefit of the community here today.”

Austin works out of his studio at 143 Main Street in downtown Springfield.

Emcee Ford said this was the second year the Chalk for Change event had been held in Court Square and presented a wide variety of artwork to the public.

“We have live art here in the square with our star artists. We do puppetry, arts and crafts for kids, live performances by local artists, as well as all over town where people will find these spray artists.

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