Chalk the Block: Chalk art contest returns to downtown Ames after COVID-19 hiatus

Danielle Gehr
Ames Tribune

Downtown Ames will gain a splash of color Sept. 26 as local art organizations host a chalk art contest in which participants can win prizes. 

Sponsored by the Public Art Commission, Octagon Center for the Arts and Ames Community Arts Council, the Ames Chalk the Block contest invites artists to compete on the 400 block of Burnett Avenue, just north of Tom Evans Park, according to a news release.

Brett Steelman chalks his messages in front of Ames Public Library during the "Chalk the Walks" event Tuesday, Aug. 17, 2021, in Ames, Iowa.

Participants can start their creation at 10 a.m. until judging begins at 2 p.m. A 4-foot by 4-foot square will serve as a canvas for each chalk artist participating. 

“Chalk drawing is an inclusive, creative outlet,” Sara Sherman, a Public Art Commission member, said in the release.

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While the contest debuted at the 2019 Octagon Arts Festival, COVID-19 prevented the event's second year. 

Prizes will be separated into three age groups: 12 and younger; 13 to 17; and 18 and older. 

To register, email with the participant’s name, age group, address, phone number and email address. Same-day registration is possible, though space is limited and the city recommends registering as soon as possible. 

The first 20 to register will be provided with free chalk, according to the release. Other participants will need to provide their own. 

Danielle Gehr is a politics and government reporter for the Ames Tribune. She can be reached by email at, phone at (515) 663-6925 or on Twitter at @Dani_Gehr.