Sidewalk Art

Sidewalk Chalk Art

It’s seven-thirty in the morning and I’m driving to work when I hear a story on the radio about a guy who quit his job to write poetry. He sits on the sidewalk with his green typewriter and a poster board sign and for $2-20 he fills in lines for strangers. He’s been doing it since 2005. Apparently, he does quite well.
“I’ve always loved poetry, he says. “I’ve always cared about how language works.”
I have too, I think.
And right there in the middle of the freeway this story about Zach Houston and how he spends Saturday mornings at San Francisco’s Ferry Plaza Farmer’s Market with his typewriter and how he quit his last conventional job on April Fools’ Day of 2007 and how his work has been featured at art museums and other cool places…this story has me daydreaming.
And I begin to wonder about this love affair with words. How in the world did it happen?
My husband fell in love with me that semester I sat in the front row of his Adult Psychopathology class in grad school. His favorite thing was to innocuously insert my name into his lectures—just to watch me blush. I couldn’t string two words together without tripping over them. I grew up hiding behind the words of others…tucked under the pages of books.
And here I am…daydreaming about a green typewriter and a sidewalk stand.
If I left my job to sell my art on the street corner, what would it be? What would I sell?
My mind jumps from thought to thought—from love to love—until I am laughing out loud at the possibilities.
I try to think of a way to weave all these loves together—make something that might invite a pedestrian to draw near. I think I have it…here: on my table I would set out little bits of God growing out of rich soil in bold colored pots. They would grow in all different kinds of shapes of love and since no one knows every shape of love the possibilities would be endless. And there would have to be words. Of course a poem—maybe a song? Definitely a story…the shapes of love would tell stories. And when this perfect marriage of growing beauty and color and story and love all come together…there would be God.
I giggle as the project grows more and more elaborate and I think of Brian Andreas and his storypeople and think, “Yes!” Just as whimsical but not so creepy.
And I’m just thinking that I might dig out my paints when I get home tonight and start on my love stories when something niggles…just a tiny ember of a thought.
I only need the colorful pots and isn’t this what I try to grow at the Wellspring? Little bits of God in stories…to plant beauty in some hearts?
Feeling so grateful for you today…grateful that you stop by this sidewalk stand.
And I don’t even have to quit my job…

With my sweet friend Jennifer today: 

And back with Emily!

Photo by ap. Sourced via Flickr.


  1. says

    I LOVE BRIAN ANDREAS. And you, too, of course. And you’re right: you’re doing it. You’re making it, creating it, and even selling it in your own fun and funky way.

  2. says

    What a great image. I once interviewed a chalk artist who used his craft on a college campus in Colorado to engage the students about Christ. He grew a minstry from those random conversations while he created art on the sidewalks. This reminded me of him. Your pot imagery is so good. I could see you sitting there at your table loving every one who walked by like you do here in this space.

  3. says

    I believe I would even pay for these beautiful pots full of color and nourishing words. I am so thankful you are here and sharing your heart.

  4. says

    oh girl. you make such lovely art. and we, the privileged ones, as we get it all for free. this post makes me feel even more that you are a kindred spirit, dear friend who hides behind books… love to you. xo

  5. says

    Oh, so lovely! Yes, you could probably do quite well with a sidewalk stand. But I am so glad you do it here – where all of us all over the place can benefit and grow and flourish in the shade of your beautiful words.

  6. says

    It is probably a good saying “Don’t quit your day job.” At least not until you have a good foundation under you to stand on.
    I doubt that I would do well as sidewalk poet or painter either, but if God is in it, – – Go for it.

  7. says

    I could just see you, sitting there in the front row blushing!

    Now I have this image in my head of all us sitting behind our computer screens being virtual chalk artists, and I like the image. Can I use glow-in-the-dark chalk?

  8. says

    What a great story of using your gifts for God’s glory! I appreciate your contentment with where He has you, instead of trying to run off and duplicate what someone else is doing. It’s something I’m struggling with right now! Beautiful as always.

  9. says

    Laura, that is loveliness upon loveliness. Oh, I am a pedestrian, and I would cross the most crazy, trafficky boulevard to get to you! Thanks, too, for sharing about your husband. I would love sitting through a lecture if it is part lecture, part flirtation. I would have taken a photo of you. 🙂

  10. says

    Oh my stars, Laura…the whole time I’m reading this I’m thinking “but this IS a sidewalk, Laura”!!! LOVE this. Love you. Thank you for letting me see your stunningly beautiful work of art here at The Wellsping.

  11. says

    Laura, I completely relate to this. To weave a tapestry of color, of rhyme, of story, of flowers in artful pots, of music, of love, and of life – bits and pieces of God – is a noble calling. You do it so well that I want to do it too! Keep hanging your tapestries out for us to admire and enjoy!

  12. says

    “And I’m just thinking that I might dig out my paints when I get home tonight and start on my love stories when something niggles…just a tiny ember of a thought.”

    Go for it girl, you’ve got the eye and heart for generous beauty.

  13. says

    What is life without its daydreams? What is life without our God? What is life without The Wellspring and its creator, Laura? Not much at all. Keep up filling us — we are His pots offered to you for filling!

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