Sidewalk ‘Chalk It Up’ Challenge is Sept. 26

The Monroe Area Council for the Arts’ Sidewalk “Chalk It Up” Challenge has been rescheduled to Saturday, Oct. 3 after rainy weather last weekend made for too wet conditions for chalk.

The Sidewalk “Chalk It Up” Challenge is sponsored by MACA, Sweetwater Valley Citizens for the Arts, the Monroe County Tourism Department, Monroe County Government, Madisonville City Hall, Vonore City Hall, Sweetwater Mainstreet, Monroe County Schools and Sweetwater City Schools.

This event encourages local residents to help transform the sidewalks in every municipality in Monroe County. The artwork should be of things that inspire the artist and their love of Monroe County: landscapes, mountains, lakes, farming, buildings, animals, activities, family and/or people. Participants are encouraged to be creative with bright colors.

The event is open to children ages 5-17 who live in Monroe County and adults ages 18 and up who live in Monroe County and surrounding areas. Entry is free, but limited spaces are available due to social distancing. Pre-registration is required by completing an entry form for your selected location. Space will be on a first-come, first-served basis until all spaces are taken. Reserve your spot to participate by calling 423-442-3210 or emailing

Entry forms are available at Artists will be at the Monroe County Courthouse, the Sweetwater Depot Visitors Center, Vonore City Hall, Madisonville City Hall and the Cherohala Skyway Visitor Center in Tellico Plains.

Each artist will be allocated a location for their sidewalk chalk art. Each art space is 4 feet by 4 feet and is available for one artist or a group of two artists.

All art spaces are at least six feet apart from each other. Social distancing and masks will be required. Children must be accompanied by a responsible adult.

All drawings must remain within the designated artist area. Drawings on buildings, trees or any other surface is strictly prohibited. This is a family event. Artworks containing nudity, profanity or content deemed inappropriate by the organizers will be removed and the artist(s) will be disqualified from the contest.

The Monroe County Courthouse location is reserved for adult artists.

All artists may bring their own chalks, brushes and water. All chalks must be washable sidewalk chalk. No oil-based chalks, flammable or offensive odors will be allowed. Failure to comply by these rules or guidelines may be grounds for dismissal.

Some spaces may have cracks and textured variations.

Participating artists can also bring blankets, pillows or a chair, and/or items like knee pads, sunscreen and a hat to stay comfortable while they draw. Sketches or inspiration pieces to guide your chalk design are allowed. Other items allowed include: plastic to cover artworks during possible rain, gazebo/tent for shade or inclement weather, cooler, ice, water/drinks and snacks.

A few tips from the pros: Use chalk sparingly. Build up layers of color, starting with a very light layer and building on that to create the brightness and depth of color as you go. It is recommended to outline all your major elements first. A big chalk eraser works great for laying down large areas of color. Moving the eraser in circular motions works best. Create a chalk-paint by crushing chalk into water and use a paint brush to also help with large areas. If you are a first-timer, consider using one object as the focal point of your artwork. Small details are difficult to manage on a rough surface so think big and dramatic.

The more you work with chalk on concrete, the more comfortable you will become. Practice on a driveway at home and be safe. The completed sidewalk artwork will be photographed and a collage of photos will be printed and presented to each participating location in remembrance of this community day.

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