The Ripley County Community Foundation, through its Ripley Youth Outreach Program, hosted the 4th annual Chalktoberfest on October 7th. Chalktoberfest is a competitive chalk art contest for students in 6th through 12th grades. This year, 11 participants from five different area high schools and three different middle schools competed for cash prizes. The competition challenged each student artist to draw a 4’ x 3’ mural inspired by their favorite TV show. Each of the talented student artists had three hours to complete their chalk mural, and when they were completed, their murals were judged on the use of materials, originality and creativity, execution of theme, and overall design.
The 2023 Chalktoberfest winners in the high school division were: Leigh Walmsley coming in 1st place with her rendition of “I Am Not Okay With This”, Grace Pettit coming in 2nd place with her mural based on “Lucifer”, and 3rd place went to Gabbi Moore with her design inspired by “Carmen Sandiego”. Each of these students favored different kinds of art, which contributed to their unique, individual artwork. When asked what type of art she enjoys the most, Grace Pettit shared that she enjoys creating designs that expresses romantism because it portrays emotion and passion to the onlooker.
The winners in the middle school division were: 1st place to Allie Peetz with her “Stranger Things” inspired mural, 2nd place to Allie Cox with her “Bluey” mural, and 3rd place to Billy Cox with his “Simpsons” inspired mural. Billy Cox shared, “I chose my favorite TV show, “The Simpsons” to inspire my mural because it’s funny!”
We welcomed three local teachers to create their own murals during the event. Matthew Gadberry, an art teacher at South Ripley High School, created a mural based upon the show, “The Bear”. Stacy Gray, an art teacher at Jac-Cen-Del High School, created a mural inspired by “Snoopy”. Heather Reichert, an English and art teacher at Switzerland County High School, created a mural inspired by “Dr. Who”. When discussing the importance of art for students, Matthew Gadberry expressed that, “As an educator, I feel that it is of the utmost importance that all students (and people in general) have a broad exposure to the arts. Understanding a language, culture, or even a person at a very human level requires the involvement of innovation and creative development. Being able to express oneself through creative means only allows for a deeper connection to those around you.” In addition to the impressive artwork created by these teachers during the event, they also spent time connecting with the student artists to share artistic advice and encouragement.
Ripley Youth Outreach brought Chalktoberfest to Ripley County to expand the opportunities available for teenagers to showcase their artistic talents and give weight to their social viewpoint. “The creation of art, especially public art, enriches a community; it brings joy, reflects the local culture, and sparks conversation”, stated Amy Streator, Executive Director of the Ripley County Community Foundation. Streator further noted, “the expansion of Arts & Culture offerings across local communities is one of the community foundation’s pillars guiding our work toward a more sustainable Ripley County.”
Chalktoberfest is just one more way the Ripley County Community Foundation is Connecting People Who Care with Causes that Matter. The chalk contest will return in the fall of 2024!