WILLIAMSBURG — The Muscarelle Museum of Art at William & Mary announced the winners of its inaugural Driveway Chalk Art Competition.
The museum’s contest was held nationwide, encouraging artists to get outdoors and create during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Throughout the summer, entrants were encouraged to replicate a piece of art in the permanent collection of the museum using public spaces or driveways as the canvas. The submissions were then photographed and submitted through Labor Day.
The Muscarelle Museum’s Director of Engagement and Distinguished Artists in Residence Steve Prince came up with the concept as a way to bring families and communities together in a safe, outdoor space. In a Sept. 30 release from the museum, Prince notes that chalk art “is temporal as is the pandemic.”
“Art is very much tied to healing and restoration of people,” Prince said. “This gave people an opportunity to do something with their families that’s enjoyable. It beautifies the community, at the same time.”
Naoka Nakagawa-Russo of Westchester, New York won the $2,500 first prize with chalk art rendition of Musashibo Benkei at Gojo Bridge by Torii Kiyotada, which Nakagawa-Russo replicated in her driveway.
Nakagawa-Russo spent much of the 18 pandemic months using chalk to write uplifting messages in her driveway and on the street in front of her home.
“We have a lot of foot traffic in my neighborhood, and I decided my kids and I would write nice sayings for people to see during COVID[-19],” she said. “My kids bagged it after a couple of days, but I’m still doing it every morning a year and a half later.”
She chose the particular image in which she replicated based on her parents’ Japanese heritage. With the assistance of her mother, she took over two days to chalk it out. She states that she plans to use the prize money to start a business that will showcase her acrylic and wood artwork that she themes around positivity.
Erick Toussaint of San Diego took home the second place prize of $1,500 for his reproduction of Carry This in Remembrance of Me, which is a mixed media piece by artist Delita Martin. Sylva Murtinova, a William & Mary Student, finished third, also replicating the same piece as Nakagawa-Russo. Murtinova received $1,000.
Honorable mentions include Whitney Ledesma, also a student of William & Mary, Michelle Chrismom of Yorktown, and Sisavanh Houghton of Middle Tennessee State University. Each honorable mention recipient received a $300 prize.