Chalk on the pavement

By Estee Trevizo
Flapjack Chronicle staff

Half-used chalk at Pastels on the Plaza in downtown Arcata.

It was a cloudy morning in Arcata when local artists met on the Arcata Plaza with their colorful pastels, wet paint brushes, rough chalk and a variety of paints to create some pieces of work, colorful cement, to support the North Coast Children’s Services.

The 25-year event is known as Pastels on the Plaza, and it’s repeated every first Saturday of October. The event benefits NCCS, a non-profit that serves more than 1,000 families and children a year.

This event is considered one the largest art events on the North Coast. The Plaza was packed with fans, employees, parents and children who wanted to see the local art that was being created right in front of their eyes.

“Basically the artists have a square to themselves and the sponsor makes a donation of their choice to benefit the NCCS,” said Kathy Montagne, NCCS executive director.

Every year, local artists from all over sign up to attend this event in hopes to sponsor families and children in need, and show everyone their art. Not only were local artists expressing their art through the streets, but transients as well as young children were flooding the streets with beauty and color. Greatly, this annual event is open to anyone that is interested in showing their art for the day.

With an eclectic variety of art that was presented for many of the locals to observe, some were advertisements for the restaurants and bars across the street, while others were unique designs and portraits by the artist.

While the artists worked with their colored paint brushes, the locals watched in awe at some of the art that was being designed. One specific square seemed showed a fantastical scene.

“It’s an overhead shot of Arcata and the bay with the Alibi logo along with a sea serpent,” said Sheena Ruchte, a participant. “I attend this event every year.”

Ruchte’s square was not only a detailed overview of Arcata, but included a realistically drawn tree, with many colors to enhance the sign of the logo. The Alibi is a mini bar on 9th Street.

Followed by a variety of artwork such as elephants, stencil designs, a portrait of the Blues Brothers, and many more abstract drawings. By the time 3 p.m. rolled around, the sidewalks were covered in pastels.

“I love look at how different all the drawings are from each other,” said Lo Thompson, who attended the event. “It’s really cool, especially knowing that it’s local art.”

Many expressed their pride and appreciation of the fact that they can say that all this artwork has been constructed by local artists from Arcata.

“This organization is provided to nurture and empower the whole child and family, to enhance our quality of life, and create a more peaceful community,” Montagne said.


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