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Wentworth Ave Chalkboard Art Messaging


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Commentary by LeRoy Chatfield

Publisher, Syndic Literary Journal

In the course of life, there is always something “new” or a “first” and for me this is one of those times!

For more than 10 years I have been publishing online, the work of authors and artists from all over the world ~ the U.S., Canada, Mexico, Germany, Austria, Poland, Belarus, France, England, Scotland, Israel, Taiwan, Germany,  Italy and Japan.

I published my first online issue of  Syndic  Literary Journal in August 2010 and now, twenty-one issues later, Syndic has published more than 600  chapters containing thousands of pieces of literary work – artwork, poetry, stories, essays, music, sculpture, photography, filmmaking, performance art – all written, created, and recorded by authors/artists of every stripe whom I met online and then worked with to organize the submission of their work for publication. Taken together, Syndic has become an incredible archive of literary work.

But wouldn’t you know it?  Until today, I had never published even one piece of Neighborhood Chalkboard Art Messaging – I am pleased to correct this oversight.

Wentworth Ave (95822) is a three block-long street that connects Del Rio Road to Freeport Boulevard in Sacramento CA. For more than 40 years    I have lived (in four different homes) in this part of town and  have had occasion  to walk  Wentworth Ave hundreds of times to shop at Raley’s Supermarket, located on the corner of Wentworth & Freeport Blvd,  or to shop at  the beloved Capitol Nursery, before it was torn down to  make way for the brand new,  recently opened,  9-acre Raley’s  Shopping Center.  Some call it progress, others say it isn’t, but I think in the end, the Pandemic Virus will have the final say about the Center.

A  year or so ago – at my age it is hard to keep track – during the course of one of  my daily 3-mile walks, about half-way between Del Rio Road and Freeport Boulevard, I noticed a chalkboard pinned to the front yard fence of a house on the southside of  Wentworth Ave, and on this chalkboard someone had drawn an image along with a written  message.  I stopped to look at it, take it in,    then continued my walk, but the more I thought about what I had just seen, the more  I realized this was one of those “firsts” in life.  

I don’t consider myself to be a world traveler but I have had occasion to walk  in such countries as Spain, Scotland, France, England, Austria , Italy, New Zealand, Mexico, Peru and the Czech Republic, and of course, in many major cities in the United States, but   I had never before seen this kind of public display of art with a message included on the front yard fence of a private home.

Who would do this, and why?  In effect, this “artist” – for whatever reason – had decided to put her/himself on public display  by   drawing an image on a chalkboard with  a written message based on that image,  then made it publicly  available on the sidewalk fence in the front of his/her home for any  Tom, Dick or Harry who just happened to walk in front of this house couldn’t miss seeing   – a piece of artwork containing a message.  Amazing!

Believe me, this is very unusual behavior for an artist! It is one thing to display your art in the safe confines of a gallery for people who choose to come inside to look at it,  or to permit it to be published arms-length  online in some distant literary journal, but it is altogether another thing to hang it on your sidewalk fence in front of your home so passersby can’t miss seeing it.

I did meet the artist – very briefly – only once.  She was walking from her car to the front door of her house and I called out to her: I really enjoy your chalkboard messages, sometimes I take a picture of one and share them with friends. Thank you, she replied, my sister who lives in the Midwest likes them and posts them on her Instagram.  That was it, that ‘s all I know about the artist.

Well, not quite all – when you scroll through a few of her chalkboard images that I have posted, you will note  she makes lighthearted comments about women athletes, holidays, holy days,  current topics,  motivational and/or personal advice and creates what I call message maxims.

I tell your truly! It takes a lot of nerve and self-confidence – even courage – to create a piece of artwork, hang it on your fence outside your home for all the world to see . . . and enjoy . . . or  criticize . . .  or God forbid, deface.

She is unique,  one a kind!
















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