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Wednesday, October 12, 2011

On getting used to living in a small space, what children do with colored chalk and more of the things we inherit

Our new life is an adjustment for all of us, especially because we're living in an apartment, which my children haven't experienced. The best thing about our apartment is our tiny porch, which we call France, and the big communal courtyard in the back. This summer we used the courtyard for lots of dinners, charades, scooter action and some chalk art. This week my older son took it upon himself to produce a massive scale chalk drawing, leading a team of children from other apartments, eventually coloring in 90% of the bricks in the courtyard.

What started out as a few bricks of color ended up as this flag of color, with more than seven children coloring on their knees for hours. My son is very comfortable being bossy on projects and other children follow his lead, regardless of the size of the project. At the beach this summer he was always leading a crew of under 10s to build some huge Mayan village. The beach is too cold for projects and he's taken his energy to the courtyard. I love it and I love the scale of this project.

The timing of this project is very fitting as their father (visual artist Dave Ford) is across the country in El Paso, TX, participating in this year's Chalk the Block, one of the coolest arts festivals for children in Texas and possibly the nation.

Cheers to all the artists who make their work using the world around them, from courtyards to scraps.

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