News

Aug
8

Chalk Art Builds Community on Thea Foss Waterway

Filed Under: Spark Grants - Posted @ 1:11pm

“We didn’t even know all this was down here.” That’s the reaction Ian Wilkinson, General Manager of the Foss Harbor Marina, often hears when people first encounter the parks, restaurants, and  other recreational activities available on the waterfront. “Maybe it’s because of how the waterfront is separated, as a result of the highway being here, there is almost a natural divide.  There is a perception that the area is really just for boaters or those who live down here, and that’s definitely not the case.  It’s important that everyone in Tacoma has access to the waterfront, everyone has opportunity on the waterfront, and everyone can come down and engage with all it has to offer.”

“It’s important that everyone in Tacoma has access to the waterfront, everyone has opportunity on the waterfront, and everyone can come down and engage with all it has to offer.” – Ian Wilkinson

A desire to activate the Thea Foss Waterway by creating events and experiences that focus on diversity, inclusion, and youth inspired the Diversity of Tacoma Chalk Art Contest to go along with their Summer Concert Series. According to Amber Monson, a volunteer event coordinator with Friends of the Foss, the original idea stemmed from her experience working at the city’s Stability Site for individuals experiencing homelessness, “One of the guys there was a great artist, and I was helping connect him with the Arts and Cultural Vitality Department for a grant they had.  As I was looking into that and thinking about how art can help build community, I thought what if we did a chalk art contest at the Concert Series that was open to everyone in the community?”

“What if we did a chalk art contest at the Concert Series that was open to everyone in the community?” – Amber Monson

In addition to various grants and contributions from several waterfront businesses for the Summer Concert Series, Amber received a Spark Grant from GTCF to help with materials and marketing for the Chalk Art Contest.  She also reached out to various community partners like the Children’s Museum and Charles Schwab to host booths providing activities and food.

The first two events in the series took place in June and July.  Artists of all ages and skill levels participated in the contest.  Ian was encouraged by seeing so many young people engage with the contest, especially when it comes to the future of the Foss Waterway, “I believe that getting kids engaged here will stimulate the long term interest and passion for the waterfront.  Once people are down there and they experience the beauty of the waterfront and all it has to offer, they’re going to keep coming back and that’s good for all of us.”

“Once people are down there and they experience the beauty of the waterfront and all it has to offer, they’re going to keep coming back and that’s good for all of us.” – Ian Wilkinson

There are two more opportunities to see what the Summer Concert Series and Diversity of Tacoma Chalk Art Contest is all about:

Sunday, August 19th
12:30pm-4pm

 

Sunday, September 16th
12:45-4pm

 

Do you have an idea that addresses and important need in your community?  Apply for the next round of Spark Grants. The deadline is October 12, 2018.  For more information or to apply, click here,