Each spring, IUP students express their social and political views through creativity during the annual Sidewalk Chalk competition. 

The IUP chapter of the National Art Education Association and the College of Fine Arts, which sponsored the event, ran the contest Wednesday in the Oak Grove from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. 

Students gathered around the large tent in the center of the Oak Grove to sign up and be given free chalk, as well as a free T-shirt and water. The participating students signed up for the open spaces marked along the sidewalks throughout the Oak Grove. 

Kaycee Morgan (sophomore, fine arts/studio arts) was a first-time competitor in the event.

“I feel like I don’t do much around campus,” he said. “So, I try to do one thing to push myself every semester.”

The theme of the competition this year was free speech. 

The topic categories for the event were social/political issues, environmental issues and human rights issues. The winners of each of these categories received a $25 cash prize. The top two awards were the Grand Prize and Free Speech. The two winners of these prizes won $100. 

The prizes were funded partially by the IUP Student Cooperative Association, the Lively Arts Office and the IUP Office of Communications. 

“The money for the free speech category actually came from the marketing department,” said Kaitlyn Carey (sophomore, art education), president of the National Art Education Association at IUP. “The T-shirts were also donated by the marketing department. They really helped us out this year.”

“I honestly didn’t know there was a cash prize until I got here,” Morgan said.

He said that he came to do “his thing,” and he didn’t come into the Oak Grove with a planned design. 

“I saw that there were categories, so I decided to go off self-expression, and we’ll see where it goes because it’s not fully developed yet,” he said as he worked on his piece. 

His design turned out to be a man kneeling on cracked ground. The details were sharp and the colors well-blended. 

He hasn’t worked with sidewalk chalk as a medium since he was a child. 

“As a kid, I really liked chalk, so I figured this could be a good way to relive my childhood,” Morgan said. 

At the end of the competition, all the competitors’ sidewalk chalk art was judged. 

“We have a whole panel of judges,” Carey said. “Some of them are professors, and most are not art-related because we tried to get other people so that competitors aren’t intimidated by having art judges.” 

A few of the judges were community members as well, one of them being a lawyer. 

Carey announced the winners at the end of the competition, naming Morgan as the Grand Prize winner.

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