Summer artists chalk up summer success

Dozens of budding artists covered a downtown street and business with all manner of scribbles and swirls on Saturday, but city officials were far from appalled. In fact, no less than Port Orchard’s Mayor Kim Abel was spotted adding her artistic touches to Bay Street.

This city-approved graffiti party was the second installment of the Port Orchard Chalk Art Festival, the brainchild of The Coffee Shop owner Patty Emmert.

“I thought it would be fun to have something for kids to do while their parents were having a cup of coffee,” Emmert said, explaining that she first got the idea for a sidewalk art event while watching a woman drawing on the street in Port Townsend.

Emmert said she told her friend and Port Orchard resident Samantha Thumma about her idea, and the event quickly took off from there.

“She’s great at organizing,” Emmert said of Thumma.

As a counselor for Kitsap Mental Health, Thumma said she works with teenagers and knows firsthand the lack of low-cost things to do in Port Orchard.

“We wanted to offer something that was free and fun, and to get people to come downtown,” she said.

When Thumma presented the plan at the City Council meeting June 14, Abel praised the idea.

“I think it’s wonderful you want to step up and contribute,” she said.

In fact, Emmert said it was Abel who suggested holding the festival once a month through October, rather than just one time.

Emmert said about 50 people registered to draw at the event Saturday, which has four age categories for contestants. The first- and second-place winners in each category receive prizes, she said, which last time included dinner for two at Los Cabos Grill, and two tickets to a show at the White River Amphitheatre.

“Of course, the itty-bitty kids, they all get a prize just for entering,” she said.

The prizes, plus the free box of chalk given to each contestant, are all donated by local businesses and some of her regular customers, Emmert said.

The next two chalk drawing events and themes are “Patriotic Day” on Sept. 11, and “Fall Festival” on Oct. 9.

Contestants can draw any time between 11 a.m. and 3 p.m., and winners are announced at 4 p.m.

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