The last three months of social distancing and staying home have felt like a long time for many of us, but especially for the essential workers who have kept things running during this time.
As a way of honoring these hometown heroes, the Ballston Business Improvement District’s charitable subsidiary, BallstonGives has been working on a professional chalk art series by local artist Patrick Owens.
Large scale chalk art street murals are being drawn on sidewalks depicting frontline workers as superheroes – as they truly have been during the pandemic. D.C.-based Owens is a nationally recognized chalk artist whose work has been covered by Smithsonian, Bon Appetit, The Washington Post and more. Observers are invited to watch him creating the art in action, while maintaining a safe social distance of course.
The Ballston BID came up with this idea as a way to shine the light on the workers who can’t stay at home, and especially those who are behind the scenes, while simultaneously uniting the community through art.
“We felt it was important to shine a light on those who don’t always get as much credit,” says Catherine Roper, chief marketing officer of the BID. “This includes janitorial services, grocery store workers, farmers, metro employees, etc. We started with a desire to show them our gratitude [and] saw an opportunity to do so through art which has been a unifying force during this time.”
Although the murals are based on photos of frontline workers in a mask, the intention of the campaign is to focus on the industry and local workers they represent. It’s about all of those who stayed at work while the rest of us were home so that the community could continue to run.
“By engaging Patrick Owens, we were able to support him as a local artist, inject color onto our streets, engage the community safely and give people a reason to get out of their homes and support local businesses in the process”, Roper adds.
The first mural highlighted janitorial workers and the next mural features a Metro staff member.
A third mural of a nurse is also being planned.
“We truly regard them as our hometown heroes, so we felt it was fitting to honor them as such across several industries while injecting color onto the streets for passersby to enjoy”, says Tina Leone, CEO of the BID.
The schedule and exact locations are weather dependent and will be announced via the BID’s social media channels. Find them on Instagram and Facebook. Work on the second mural is currently scheduled for Friday, June 19. The artist will be at the corner of N. Stuart Street and 9th Street starting at 10 a.m.
As you can imagine, the chalk art is quite temporary and can be washed away by rain or even just pedestrian traffic so check it out when you can.
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