In 1977, the band Kansas released “Dust in the Wind.” If you are of a certain age, then you grew up with this song on the radio – and it’s now part of your life’s soundtrack. All you have to do is turn the old-school dial to an oldies radio station, and you’re bound to hear it eventually.
As far as pop tunes go, this song doesn’t shy away from the ephemeral nature of life: “Now, don’t hang on, nothing lasts forever but the earth and sky,” and “It slips away, and all your money won’t another minute buy.” If you’re looking for a song to add to your COVID-19 feel-good playlist, this is not the song, unless you want to be reminded that everything – allow me to italicize and bold everything – is, in fact, very temporary.
Did Kansas write a song about creating outdoor art with chalk during a pandemic? No, of course not. On the other hand, for the sake of this article, allow me the creative license to compare the two.
The temporary nature of drawing or writing with chalk on a sidewalk offers a different kind of poignancy than a painting or a sculpture that’s intended for posterity; after all, you’re creating a design or conjuring up a quote that’s only aimed at a single moment in time, one that won’t last. If rain is in the forecast, then that chalk-designed masterpiece will only survive the hours before the first drops begin to fall. Passersby may see it today, but not tomorrow. Beauty is, indeed, very fleeting.
On the flip-side, chalk art is stripped of the kind of pressure that other, more permanent art forms face. Just go out and create. Make something with your hands. Step away from your phone, tablet or computer. If it doesn’t turn out, or embody your artistic ideals or say anything profound, it doesn’t matter – because it will be washed away with the next rain. It is what it is.
This story is made possible by the Arts and Cultural Heritage Fund and the citizens of Minnesota.
Art cars – whether created by professional artists or amateur enthusiasts – delight crowds on any day. But when they show up unexpectedly in an impromptu neighborhood parade during a pandemic? Pure magic.
Craving new routes for your daily walks? Both Minneapolis and Saint Paul feature “outdoor galleries” of vibrant murals that might just fulfill your hunger for beauty in these stay-at-home times. Your murals walking tours in Minneapolis and in Saint Paul await, complete with maps for easy navigation.
Photographer Layne Kennedy is known for his editorial assignment work that sends him around the globe to capture the perfect shot for the likes of National Geographic Traveler, Outside and LIFE. But while sheltering in place, he’s focused on a newer craft: making stunning wooden bowls from fallen trees in his Minneapolis neighborhood.