Thursday, December 18, 2008

Ghost Riders

“Art is not a thing; it is a way.”
Elbert Hubbard

Michael Layefsky recently got his kite and camera up again in the sky over our chalk piece and this is what was below him.

“I believe in intuition and inspiration. . . at times I feel certain that I am right while not knowing the reason …imagination is more important than knowledge. For knowledge is limited, whereas imagination embraces the entire world, stimulating progress, giving birth to evolution.”
Albert Einstein

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Keeping the Heart Art Alive

As we worked on our book and documentary film, we decided to do a film shoot interviewing me at the site while I was re-chalking the salamander's heart.

Kevin Footer and Victoria Zorraquin brought their camera gear. I brought some chalk, my truck, and Zander the Chalk Dog.

Victoria ready for some film action.

Mark Wagner, creator of the Kids' Chalk Art Project, and Zander.
Original Heart, May 2008
Artwork - 90,000 square feet.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

The Art of Being A Dad - New Book

Creative Director of Re-Enchanting the World Through Art & the Kids' Chalk Art Project has just published his first book - The Art of Being A Dad (first seven years).

On Sale Now @

Friday, November 7, 2008

The Mayor of Alameda and the City Council

photo my Mike R0sati

Last night I went to the City Council meeting, waited for hours and then was able to address the City Council Members and the Mayor of Alameda. I told them I brought good news on a somewhat depressing night at City Hall. I gave everyone a print of our chalk salamander and gingko leaf art project and thanked them for their support, mainly in waving the $14,000 base rental fee and the special event permit.

They were excited, smiled, and really appreciated what we had done. The Mayor acknowledged us for pulling off a such a successful and large first time event. I spoke well about what we had done and what we are doing and invited the City to be connected to our future nonprofit projects.

Thank you again chalk team, we rocked & chalked and created a killer world record community art project!

sincerely yours,
Creative Director
Re-Enchanting the World Through Art

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Documentary Film Beginning

Kevin Footer and Vicki Zorraquin are beginning to work on the KIDS' CHALK ART PROJECT documentary film.

As with our book project we want to be able to share what we did with others, film, print, and the web are such excellent vehicles. So stay tuned - should be great, we have some amazing footage.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Chalk Book Pre Sales

The chalk drawing is still here. We had a light rain since I took these pictures and it took some of the color and art away from where the kids drew. The outline we created using powered chalk is on the pavement solid and it will stay well into the rainy season and perhaps even into next year.

Our non profit, "Re-Enchanting the World Through Art" (REWA) is now making a book about the chalk drawing project. You can pre-order the book now for $26.95 by sending a check to:

REWA, PO Box 284, Alameda CA 94501

We are planning to have the book completed by early Dec. 2008. All book sale proceeds go to the nonprofit and helps to support and inspire the creative spirit in youth and communities.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

The Universe Creating Itself - Community Art

"The Universe Creating Itself"
Community Chalk Drawing
50 ft. x 50 ft., Sept. 2008

by Mark Wagner and the
Community of Santa Clarita California USA

"The Universe Creating Itself"
Community Art, Santa Clarita Street Festival, CA
50 ft. x 50 ft., Sept. 2008
by Mark Wagner and the Community of Santa Clarita

Tuesday, September 9, 2008



The largest chalk pavement art measured 8,361.31 m2 (90,000 ft2) and was created by 5,678 children from schools in Alameda, California, USA, for the Kids' Chalk Art Project between 27 May and 7 June 2008.

If you are inspired by what we did, you'll like what we are doing too. One of our current projects is turning the world record chalk event into a book; to document a non-permanent art piece, to share with other communities ideas about keeping the creative spirit alive, and to have a product to sell to help create long term sustainable income for the foundation over the years.

Please join us by DONATING now - download our PDF donation form.
We are a full affiliate of Bridging With Youth, a 501(c)3 nonprofit.

Friday, August 29, 2008

New Life

Creation continues to evolve. The transient energy of chalk and nature.

An environmental clean-up agency that the US Navy hired is running their trucks over the chalk drawing They are cleaning up radioactive radium that the Navy used to paint on item to glow in the dark, they dumped the toxic waste into the storm drains which are now being cleaned out.

I have know about the clean up for a year or so. The work had not been started until after our event was over. I am working on a sci-fi story about this Alameda Navy Air Base. I think I will use the idea of the salamander and gingko leaf chalk drawing being effected and transformed by the radioactive energy.

The chalk drawing has really faded where the truck have run, some areas have been watered down. All detail and colors from the hand drawn chalk is gone in those places, but interesting enough life finds it's way back, as always, evolving, unstoppable, the pure force of nature.

The chalk drawing will continue to disappear, when the wind and rain come it should be mostly gone from this world but will last perhaps forever with photographs, memories, and positive creative energy invested wisely into our youth.

And then there is a man and his dog. If you followed the actually event you will have seen many pictures of Mr. Z. He was on site for all two weeks, only leashed when the school kids were with us and then still able to be petted and oo'd and ah'd over. He's such a good dog around kids. He continues to be a guiding light in my life.

We are close to moving our nonprofit over from the "Kid's Chalk Art Project" to "Re-Enchanting the World Through Art." The book about the event has begun and we are beginning to brainstorm about what's next.

~Mark Wagner

Monday, August 25, 2008

Ten Reasons Why Art Is Good For Kids

photo by Alexandra Childs

I thought I'd post these again.

Ten Reasons Why Art Is Good For Kids

1) Art Teaches Problem Solving. Making art teaches that there is more than one solution to the same problem. Art challenges our beliefs and encourages open-ended thinking that creates an environment of questions rather than answers.

2) Art Prepares Kids for the Future. Creative, open-minded people are highly desired in all career paths. Art and creative education increases the future quality of the local and global community. Being creative is a life long skill and can be used in every day situations.

3) Art Generates a Love of Learning & New Ideas. Art develops a willingness to explore what has not existed before. Art teaches risk taking, learning from one’s mistakes, and being open to other possibilities. Kids who are creative are also curious and passionate about knowing more.

4) Art is Big Business. At the core of the multi-billion dollar film and video game industry are artists creating images and stories. Every commercial product is designed by artists from chairs to cars, space stations to iPods. A Van Gogh painting sold for 83 million dollars.

5) Art Develops the Whole Brain. Art strengthens focus and increases attention, develops hand-eye coordination, requires practice and strategic thinking, and involves interacting with the material world through different tools and art mediums.

6) Art Improves Holistic Health. Art builds self-esteem, increases motivation and student attendance, improves grades and communications, nurtures teamwork, and strengthens our relationship to the environment.

7) Art Supports Emotional Intelligence. Art supports the expression of complex feelings that help kids feel better about themselves and helps them understand others by “seeing” what they have expressed and created. Art supports personal meaning in life, discovering joy in one’s own self, often being surprised, and then eliciting it in others.

8) Art Builds Community. Art reaches across racial stereotypes, religious barriers, and socio-economical levels and prejudices. Seeing other culture's creative expression allows everyone to be more connected and less isolated - "we see how we are all related." Art creates a sense of belonging.

9) Art Awakens the Senses. Art opens the heart and mind to possibilities and fuels the imagination. Art is a process of learning to create ourselves and experience the world in new ways. Arts support the bigger picture view of life: beauty, symbols, spirituality, storytelling, and helps us step out of time allowing one to be present in the moment. Art keeps the magic alive.

10) Art is Eternal. Creativity and self-expression has always been essential to our humanity. Our earliest creative expressions were recorded in petroglyphs, cave paintings, and ancient sculptures. One of the first things kids do is draw, paint, and use their imaginations to play.

Mark Wagner © 2008

Monday, August 18, 2008

Another Recent Photo

Aero-Geodetic Corp. recently was so kind and generous (donation) to take a photo of our chalk drawing from their plane flying above 1000 feet. S0 cool, the file they gave me is 125 MB. Click on this image to see a larger one.

There has been industrial truck traffic over the tail area of the drawing and if you look really close you can see someone standing on the salamander's left front toes.

The KIDS' CHALK ART PROJECT is beginning to think about what's next. We are looking into creating a book about the year in chalk and a documentary film. Stay tuned.

Saturday, August 2, 2008

Monday, July 7, 2008

Words & Images

I am just returning to the blog. After such a big push in making this epic chalk project happen I have been catching up on things that I let go of and beginning other work (concept art on a Pixar/Disney project).

The chalk drawing is still there out on the Base, it will be there for months until the rains come. I recently visited the site and took some photos. One thing I am really glad of is that we kept words off the artwork. I'd tell the kids, "no words, pokemon, or spungebobs."

Some kids would moan when I said this, especially the pokespunge kids. I'd say, "I am sure you are great at drawing them, they are cool and were actually created by other artists just like you, but what we would like here is for you to use your own imagination."

Even during the last day of the event when we had 1800 come and work on the piece, we got on the sound system and reminded people to not use words or these other images. But after we were done and gone, people have come out and drawn and there are words all over the place, mostly on the outside areas of the drawing. Mostly personal names, some words, and a few political

My creative hit about words and images is that words are easier. Take teh fact that there are NO ART TEACHERS in the elementary schools and math and reading are focused on. We are not supporting our kids to think visually in a world that is image driven. Vision is our primary sense. I think of the Waldorf schools and how they keep movies and TV and advertisement away from kids in their early development and emphasis stories, myths, songs, movement, and art to educate the child's soul.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

When You Have Dream, Come Find Me

Ken Duffy (Frank Synopsis on Flickr) took this shot from a commercial airline and tracked me down to send it my way. So cool, what a great photo, highest and best so far. It's really wonderful for me to see this, a vision come true, a vision come into this world.

I may of mentioned this before, but as I talked to all the kids that came to the event to help over the two weeks, I thanked them for helping a dream of mine come true (something that I couldn't do by myself). I also told them that when they had a dream that they should come find me and I'll help them do it.

I've been reflecting on the community creation aspect of the project, that an entire community (approx. 6000 people, over 1/2 of them elementary school kids) helped to create one large piece of art together - big enough to be seen from outer space. I am inspired!

Friday, June 20, 2008

Fading Away Into All Animal Mountains

The colors and the event are fading away. Hard to believe it finally happened after so much time and energy and people, and now something on the other side of doing, it's done.

Today we are submitting the Guinness World Record material. We have been gathering photos, witness documents, filling out paper work, attaching survey reports, and making eveything easy for the Guinness people to just say - looks great, congratulations!

There are now tire tracks on the drawing. For two weeks we had the keys to lock the gate to the site which only had one gate in and out. Now it basically belongs to the people, though the Navy still officially owns the property.

I am excited to now have some freelance work as concept artist with Pixar/Disney working on early development for a feature film. The summer is here, school is out, my kids are scattered about with friends and summer camps coming up.

I know we did good by all of this. We touched a great many people, especially kids that is a powerful way to invest creatively into the future. It was such an epic adventure. Like climbing a mountain, not sure if I/we could actually do it, then it happens, we do, we did.... and this then becomes something of the past but more importantly, it becomes something internal for everyone who worked on it.

I think it's a seed that is planted inside that grows into all mountains, into all climbers, into other big animals, big art, big creative spirit energy that we all put into everything we do, into our other dreams, into this moment and the next.

Creative Blessings,

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

STORYTIME: The Journey Home, Remember?

STORYTIME: The Journey Home, Remember?

Once upon a time there were two kids who were exploring beyond where they had ever been and… they got lost. They couldn’t remember how to get home, and as your storyteller – I can’t remember how this story ends, so I need your help!

For three days and nights they walked, and finally came across an old house where an Old Lady and Old Man lived. The children stay for several days and helped out around the house. Imagine being one of the kids and helping out old people, what would you do?

Would you do the dishes, lift heavy things, garden, paint the house, what color? Would you chalk draw for them, tell them stories, would you listen to their stories?

Then the children were finally ready to leave. The Old Man gave them a FIRE SALAMANDER, which is one of the oldest living creatures on this planet. It is described as a living dinosaur. There is new salamander in this millennium, it’s called a Tiger Salamander, it’s an endangered species that lives right here in the wetlands of Northern California.

The Old Lady gave them a leaf from a GINKGO TREE, which is one of the oldest living plants on this planet; it’s 270 million years old! There are gingko trees here in Alameda. Some gingko (ginkgo biloba) is used to help us think well – it’s a plant that helps in remembering.

The kids put the salamander and the leaf together and guess what happened?
Yup… the salamander ate the leaf and must have remembered something
because it took off running the kids followed close behind.

Then, one by one, each of the elementary schools’ mascot/totem animals
shows up to help the kids remember how to get home.

The Edison Otter helps them have fun and not worry.
The Washington Tiger helps them be courageous.
The Otis Owl helps them to see at night and be wise.
The Bayfarm Dolphin helps them cross the water and learn about love.
The Henry Haight Eagle flies high and helps them see the big picture.
The Franklin Falcon helps them communicate to each other
The Lum Bear reminds them to rest and learn about dreaming.
The Paden Pelican teaches the kids about working together.
The Ruby Bridges Star lights their way at night and points the way.

And Saint Joseph reminds the children that they are “already home because
they are connected to nature.” (said by a child)

And how does the story end? Remember, I can’t remember, it’s up to you using

Told to the elementary school children of Alameda CA
Mark Wagner © 2008