‘Chalk’ about art, creativity flourishes for Art Along the Rogue

GRANTS PASS, Ore. — The sun was out today and in Grants Pass hundreds of people flocked downtown to enjoy the beautiful day with music and street art.

Beginning with a concert kickoff on Friday, H Street was filled with artists on Saturday and Sunday for the Art Along the Rogue annual event. The music was enticing but it was the art that people came to downtown see.

“It’s so awesome that we live in a community where they put on an event like this,” said Ben Bickle, an art teacher for Hidden Valley High School. “You know our attendance was a little bit low yesterday just cause of the weather but today it looks like it’s going to be pretty dang good.”

For the past 16 years, Art Along the Rogue has allowed artists to share their craft with the Grants Pass community. Bickle says that Hidden Valley has had a group of students take part every year with this year bringing around 25 students to collaborate.

“It spreads culture and art in our community and young kids come out and get inspired and then they become our future artists,” said Jon Bowen, tourism director for City of Grants Pass. “Adults love it because it’s a way for them to reach out and share their talents and expertise in art.”

Some of the artists this year were first timers like Ashley Rappleyea, who came out this year to try an idea she wants to paint on the side of her friend’s business.

“These huge wings that are interactive where people can come up to the wall and have their picture taken against the wall with the wings behind them and I thought this would be a good dry run,” she said.

However, there were some hiccups.

“There’s been a trip or two to the Dollar Store real quick,” she said. Luckily, her husband was able to help her out.

Still, mistakes or no mistakes, everyone was there to share their creativity.

“We tend to do more portraiture type of work like these guys over here,” said Bickle pointing to his neighboring artist. “This year we decided to kind of shoot for the moon and go with something pretty intricate and a lot of moving parts.”

With some 43 artists taking part this year, it’s goes to show no matter what age you are – art is for everyone.

“When the festival is over, the rain may come, the cars may drive on it but that’s part of the excitement for the artist,” said Bowen. “They love the challenge of completing their work and knowing that it’s short lived but they put their heart and soul into it.”

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