Out on the blacktop: Chalk The Block Utah™ moves to August with circus-themed art


Chalk The Block Utah™ is Aug. 2–4, 2018 at the Shops at Riverwoods. Funds raised from the annual event will go toward the Spectrum Academy, a charter school for children with autism. (Photo courtesy of Chalk The Block Utah™)

The parking lot at the Shops at Riverwoods is going to come to life this weekend. More than 300 chalk artists will take to the pavement to design masterpieces for the 7th Annual Chalk The Block Utah™.

Taking the big top tents to the blacktop, the 2018 Chalk The Block Utah™ theme is “Under the Big Top.” As part of the theme, artists will create circus-themed art. Plus, there will be twelve featured artists — including nationally recognized and Chalk The Block Utah™ veteran Julie Kirk Purcell — working on 3D drawings. And each of these artists is competing for one of 14 awards, which will be announced on Saturday night at 7 p.m.

In the past, Chalk The Block Utah™ has been held in September, but this year the annual event at the Shops at Riverwoods was moved to August for the first time. For the past two years, rain has threatened Chalk The Block Utah™, making it more challenging for artists.

Twelve featured artists will participate in Chalk the Block at the Riverwoods, including Julie Kirk Purcell, who led the team that created this 3D masterpiece. (Photo courtesy of Julie Kirk Purcell)

“We got feedback from the artists saying that they would rather do it in the warmer weather than risk the colder, wetter September,” said McKell Law, marketing director and events coordinator at the Riverwoods.

Law said the committee was worried that moving the event up a month would hurt participation, but that worry was for nought. There are just as many artists signed up for the 2018 Chalk The Block Utah™ as there were in 2017. Plus, it provides the Shops at Riverwoods an August event before school begins.

“We are excited to try it out in August this year because it becomes more of a summer festival and it gives us a chance to have a big party to look forward to,” Law said.

While chalk artists will begin their drawings on Thursday, Aug. 2, the festivities don’t really begin for the public until Friday night.

Carrying the theme from the blacktop, there will be circus-themed activities, including circus street performers, balloon artists and a scavenger hunt. And for aspiring chalk artists, there will be an area designated for kids sidewalk chalk. Local bands — including Mid-life Crisis, Rusty Fenders, Salt Valley and more — will perform between 6–9 p.m. on Friday and Saturday night.

In addition to the festivities, Chalk the Block Utah™ has added a glowing new event, the Spectrum of Colors Glow Run. This late-night run begins at 8:45 p.m. for the 1 Mile Fun Run/Walk and at 9:15 p.m. for the 5K. The Fun Run cost $12 and the 5K costs $30. Glow-in-the-dark accessories are included in the race registration packet.

“The weather for a nighttime run is perfect,” Law said.

All the proceeds beyond what it costs to run Chalk the Block Utah ™ and the Colors Glow Run will go to the Spectrum Academy, a charter school that builds brighter futures for children with autism. The Shops at Riverwoods is hoping to hand over a check for at least $7,000 to the school after the event.

Learn more about Chalk the Block Utah ™ at the Shops at Riverwoods at chalktheblockutah.org.

Rebecca Lane

While her first language is sarcasm, Rebecca dabbles in English and Russian to achieve her lifelong dream of being a journalist. A BYU sports fan, reading enthusiast and wannabe world traveler, Rebecca is a Colorado transplant that is convinced Colorado's mountains are much larger than the many Utah County peaks. Rebecca manages UtahValley360.com for Bennett Communications. Follow her on Twitter @rebeccalane.

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