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Heister Street Filling up with Artwork One Square at a Time

by on July 13, 2013 5:36 PM

Most of the action during the Central Pennsylvania Festival of the Arts can be found on Allen Street, but tucked away a few blocks back on Heister Street is the Italian Street Painting Festival.

One of the most popular features is Little Artists Alley where people can pay $5 to purchase a box of chalk and their own sidewalk square to draw a picture of anything they want.

The hands-on activity, which has existed for 14 years, started on Thursday. By the time the festival is complete tomorrow, there should be over 200 different squares all merged together.

Drawings included rainbows, cartoon characters, flowers, an American flag, and several Penn State related themes.

Soloz Brown-Lauer, an elementary school student from Bellefonte, drew tulips in her square yesterday and was back for more today. This time, she was drawing the Nittany Lion logo. 

“The people here are just so nice and friendly,” said Brown-Lauer. “I love being up here at Penn State.”

Do not let the name of the exhibit fool you though. While event coordinators Bob Baumbach and Holly Fay said it was originally started to give kids more options at the Arts Festival in addition to running under water buckets, people of all ages are able to participate.

“I know an 80-year old woman who comes in every year from Pittsburgh to buy a square," said Baumbach. "She’s been doing it for as long as I remember.”

Little Artists Alley was also a hit among the college crowd. Blue band members Maddie Larson, Rachel Harvey, Nick Levine, and Mandy Wilson teamed up to dedicate their square to the marching band. 

When they were finally finished, they took a few pictures and joked that they might send one to Blue Band director Dr. Bundy.

“I think something like this is cool because you can make it your own,” said Larson. “You buy the square so you can draw whatever you want.”

“Each square is an individual piece of art, but at the same time, I feel like it all molds together pretty well and looks like one big mural.”

Ciick HERE to check out our complete guide to the Arts Festival. 

Drew Balis is a Penn State graduate, freelance reporter and frequent contributor to
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