A little rain wasn’t enough to stop Warwick Veterans Memorial High School seniors from participating in the annual Sidewalk Chalk community art project, where students decorate the sidewalks in front of their high school with impressive works of art representing pop culture.
“They wanted to have it today,” said art teacher Karen Larson. She explained her students were watching the weather and thought they would be safe with only a 10 percent chance of rain predicted. Although light rain fell on and off throughout the morning, with a few patches of stronger rain and wind, the seniors were determined to finish their masterpieces. Many covered completed areas with blankets and tarps to protect it from the elements, while others used the water to their advantage, using the water to seal the chalk dust, giving the design a watercolor, paint appearance.
“It’s freezing, but it will be OK,” said Brianna Thomas, as she worked to finish her Marvel superhero drawing with friends Ciara Mazza and John Altieri. “We’re making the best out of a bad situation.”
Nicole Luiz, Alyssa McCrackean, Ricki Beaufort and Jenna Fontaine admitted it was a struggle to complete their “Lady and The Tramp” drawing, especially with the wind.
“We had to keep taking the tarp, covering it and uncovering it,” said Luiz.
“They’re still doing it. They’re persevering,” said Larson.
The Sidewalk Chalk project has been a tradition at Warwick Vets for 11 years. Larson predicts next year will be her final year as she is preparing to retire after the 2014-2015 school year.
Larson also had to give thanks to a group of senior girls, who stepped up to pick up food, chalk and other items needed for the event while she was helping her son with his new baby. “Without my senior girls, I wouldn’t have been able to do it,” she said.
Despite the cold and the rain, the seniors were still enjoying their day of relaxing, creating visual representations of their favorite movies, this year’s theme. Artwork ranged from Disney classics like “The Little Mermaid” and “Lady and The Tramp” to popular animated movies of today like “Despicable Me” and “Frozen.” While animated movies and characters appeared to be the most popular options, some ventured outside of the box, drawing scenes and characters from live-action movies such as “Titanic,” “Beetlejuice” and “Jaws.”
“Our teacher said everyone usually does cartoons and she wanted something different,” said Marissa Tomei, who was part of one of the teams who drew a depiction of “Jaws.” “We liked that it was different.”
Students pay $5 to participate, with proceeds benefiting the Kory Kenyon Fund, generating a scholarship for one Vets student each year. The scholarship is named in honor of a student who passed away a number of years ago.