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Arlanza community event sparks creativity, spreads joy with chalk

Riverside Public Library encouraged residents to 'spark kindness in people' in two-hour art event hosted at Arlanza Library

Photo of local Riverside artist coloring a realistic chalk drawing
Riverside-based artist Jesus Casteñada demonstrates his talents using realism at the ‘Chalk the Walk” event Thursday afternoon.

Riversiders of all ages expressed their creativity using colorful chalk Thursday during the second “Chalk the Walk” event of March held at Arlanza Library.

From 10 a.m. to noon, the public was invited to draw respectful sidewalk art pieces and encouraging messages for all to see. The event, hosted by Riverside Public Library and the Neighborhood Engagement Division, is to provide an open space for residents to spread positivity and create a culture of kindness.

Riverside Councilmember Jim Perry, who oversees Ward 6 which includes the Arlanza area, came out to support.

“This is a great community based event to get people involved in their neighborhood,” Perry said.

Outside the library chalk materials were provided in buckets free for the public to use. Residents had created an array of drawings from little kittens to spring flowers to inspirational quotes.

Patty Monge is a Riverside resident and director of Give 4 Kidz, a local nonprofit that provides underserved children with resources and programs to enhance literacy and educational studies. She said her daughter, Bella, enjoyed the various chalk options and having plenty of space to draw her balloons.

Patty Monge of Give 4 Kidz shared a photo to social media of her daughter lying on the sidewalk next to her interactive colorful balloon drawing.

“This is my first time at a public library event,” Monge said. “I’m not too far away so I decided to come check it out. This is great that [the City of Riverside] is doing this.”

“Chalk the Walk” events are primarily organized by the Riverside Economic Development department. Erin Christmas, director of RPL, collaborated with RPL staffer Yvette Sennewald to help pull off the event.

Christmas said the motivation behind Chalk the Walk is to ultimately “spark kindness in people” and provide a space for local organizations and artists to network for future opportunities.

“Who doesn’t like chalk?” she said.

Jesus Castañeda, a Riverside-based artist, was commissioned to demonstrate his prowess with chalk, drawing pieces inspired by realism that brimmed with color and personality.

“It’s very interactive,” he said of his art pieces.

The first “Chalk the Walk” event in March was held March 24th at the new Main Library in Downtown Riverside.