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Chalk Around

Engaging street life with a chalk

It’s not every day that an artist invites the public to mark up, smudge and jump on their canvas, but that’s exactly what a trio of Experience Design students did during CAMD’s Fall 2019 Chalk Around the Block competition.  Estefania Chehade (MFA 2020), Jeremy Brodeur (MFA 2020) and Sylvia Zepeda (MS 2019) entered the competition with a goal of creating an interactive and participatory work that centered on the experience of playing hopscotch.

Their work consisted of the basic framework of hopscotch – a series of squares aligned in sequence – as well as alternative routes that posed increasing degrees of difficulty.  In exchange for playing one or more rounds of hopscotch participants were asked to leave a mark somewhere on the canvas.  The emerging composition, complete with footprints and smudges from repeated use, served as an archive of the experiences and creative responses left behind by passersby whose daily routine was briefly interrupted by a moment of play.   

Informed by this experience, Stef, Jeremy and Sylvia further developed the core ideas behind their hopscotch experiment in the Streetlife: Experiencing a Street project for the Fall 2019 Experience Design Studio 1 course, led by Professor Kristian Kloekl.  Their proposed intervention called for the conversion of concrete surfaces along Columbia Road in Dorchester into rotating canvasses for artwork that would serve as the primary programmatic vehicle to activate underutilized spaces and develop them into vibrant public spaces for the community.