Chelsee Briggeman drew inspiration from chalk drawing on the sidewalk with her children to decorating a blank wall on the north side of Merchant Park with some interactive art.
The blank wall on the north side of Merchant Park in downtown Pratt proved to be too much of a temptation for Chelsee Briggeman who turned it into a colorful display that invited passersby to become part of the art. Pratt needs some interactive art, Briggeman said.
Briggeman spent several hours created chalk drawings of a Kansas landscape, a handful of balloons, some wings and some crowns. The whole idea was for people to stand next to the art and take their picture with the artwork in the background that for a moment joined with the person, Briggeman said.
Briggeman, who was born and raised in Pratt, said she has always enjoyed art and artistic things.
She was inspired by her late grandfather Dick Sangster who was very involved in the Pratt Community and did wood carving. He give Briggeman her artistic roots while her husband David and her mother and father-in-law Mary and Larry Briggeman have also inspired her. She said they have given her artist wings.
The idea for the chalk drawings came about very quickly. It was just Wednesday, June 6, when Briggeman was sitting on a sidewalk, chalk drawing with her children when she thought about that blank wall by Merchant's Park and decided she wanted to create some chalk art.
So, she got on the Internet and found inspiration for the wings and balloons. The crowns were an inspiration from the Miss Kansas Pageant that was happening last week. She did dream up the Kansas landscape her self and just went for it. She also came up with “I love you Pratt, KS” and “Miss Kansas 2018” and some stylized half circles.
She contacted Kim DeClue at the Pratt Area Chamber of Commerce Office and DeClue said she should just run with it.
“It’s such a cool space. It was awesome to drive up Main Street and see that colorful wall,” Briggeman said.
If someone stands just right, they look like they are holding the balloons or they have their own set of wings of have a crown on their head.
She used a variety of colors for her drawings and hoped people would come and stand next to the art work and take pictures that they would share on social media.
And share it they did. A number of people took the time to pose with the drawings and become part of the art. She saw one dad lifting his daughter so she could have her picture taken with the wings.
“The response was great. One of the great things about art is it brings me joy,” Briggeman said. “I enjoyed being able to do it. It brought me insurmountable joy.”
Her drawings were done with ordinary sidewalk chalk in a number of colors. She quickly found the wall surface was a lot rougher than she thought it would be and it used up the chalk faster than she anticipated. She would have preferred a surface like the side walk by the wall but in the end, it wasn’t too bad.
“Smoother would have been better but I like the way it turned out,” Briggeman said. “I used a paint brush to smooth out the designs.”
The rough wall was kind of like a mistake and Briggeman said she likes taking mistakes and turning them into something beautiful. She likes moving with the flow of the art.
“You have to feel the moment and listen to your creative voice,” Briggeman said.
In time, wind will blow the chalk away or rain will simply wash the art away and leave a blank canvas for someone else to get creative. Briggeman would like something artistic done with the wall. She loves the portion of the wall that Prattan Gene Wineland painted. It’s an iconic piece of Pratt art, Briggeman said.
But it’s also important for young artists to leave their mark as well so she hopes someone will make use of the blank wall again.
“I’m so excited about the future of Pratt. I think there's a lot of young people my age that will take over the community,” Briggeman said. “I’m excited for our future. I’m so proud of Pratt. We need to come together and enjoy our little town and each other.”