“Global pandemic”. “Quarantine”. “Unprecedented times”.  Alarming phrases are now a part of daily news reels and private conversations alike.  Parallel to climbing death rates and supply shortages, there is an increasing amount of heartbreak, and a shortage of positive news.  Though there is a kind of shadow of uncertainty cast on the road ahead, there are bright spots in the path citizen are on together, chalk drawings, to be more specific. 

A design from the Young family (Eleanor ’22 & Maddy ’20), completed with the help of their neighbors.

With children being out of school and sports, they have much more time on their hands, and many have used this time to lift up others who may be struggling.  They have discovered previously untapped talent and turned empty gray asphalt into a broad canvas, splashed with hope.  All along bike paths, driveways, and sidewalks, people stumble upon encouraging messages from unknown artists who are hoping to lighten others’ spirits in these dark times.

One PA parent noted, “Despite all of the uncertainty and fear around us, as Minnesotans we are lucky to have beautiful spring weather approaching to keep us outside and give us an opportunity to show love to the community”.  It’s true; as spring approaches and nicer weather is coming, Minnesotans find themselves outside more and more, with paths around state parks and lakes being busier than ever. 

Despite the hard times the country is facing, people are bringing out their best, and making every effort to stay positive in some ways as unprecedented as the COVID-19 virus itself.  Kristin Welch ‘22 says, “The current situation

An encouraging message located on a walking path near Orno, MN.

has united people, and shown how communities can work together to get past these obstacles.” 

The colorful, adorned walking paths bring solidarity in otherwise isolating circumstances. Welch added, “These messages lift each other up and show the support communities have for one another. It is a great feeling to see positivity while we are all going through hard times”.

Claire Wikenheiser ‘27 agrees with Welch saying, “For us, the chalk art was a way to bring joy to others in our neighborhood, especially little kids, as they walk past our driveway. It has given us a way to continue communicating love during a difficult time”.