“Paint the Town with Chalk” Saturday in Oak Ridge

Oak Ridge was created without a central, mixed-use downtown during the Manhattan Project. That is all about to change, thoough, according to the city, which announced earlier this year that plans are being developed to turn Wilson Street, near Main Street, into a “buzzing, active downtown area.”

To help show off that area, the City of Oak Ridge is inviting everyone out to watch on May 23rd from 9 am to 3 pm, as they get ready to “Paint the Town with Chalk.”

There will be 15 professional artists creating chalk artwork that will help promote the visions of a Main Street’s vitality and community spirit – – and you can watch as that excitement comes alive! Spectators will be able to vote on the TN Bank People’s Choice Award. A Best in Show prize will be given to the drawing that best depicts the vision of Main Street. That prize is being donated by Jim Dodson.

But, what is Paint the Town with Chalk? According to a city press release, it is a “Chalk Walk and exhibit to help people visualize what downtown could be like, in order to build support and enthusiasm; and to show that Oak Ridge is excited about the amazing possibilities for this area.”

COVID-19 precautions should be taken to help keep everyone safe and healthy. Spectators can walk or drive by as the artists complete their drawings. People are asked to practice social distancing and encouraged to wear masks when walking, through.

The city says that the public can get involved in the excitement.

While Saturday’s chalk drawings will be completed and displayed by 15 professional artists from around the region, in the week leading up to Saturday’s event, city officials are encouraging citizens to “grab your family, a pack of chalk and turn a section of your driveway or sidewalk into a vision of what you would like to see in a vibrant downtown area! Maybe it is a farmers market, a street musician, a bakery with amazing cupcakes or a local book store. Let your imagination run wild!”

Take a picture of your masterpiece and post it to the Explore Oak Ridge Facebook Page or Instagram and tag the picture #paintthetownor. You can also email it to Explore Oak Ridge at [email protected]. The pictures will be shared to the Paint the Town web page and the one with the most votes will receive a $100 prize for the Community Spirit Award sponsored by OR Pharmacy.

All entries must be submitted by May 20th (today) and voting will take place until 4:00 pm on Saturday, May 23rd.

Sponsors of the event include, City of Oak Ridge, Explore Oak Ridge, TN Bank and Oak Ridge Pharmacy.

About Jim Harris

Jim Harris has been WYSH's News & Sports Director since 2000. In addition to reporting local news, he is the play-by-play voice for Clinton High School football, boys' and girls' basketball and baseball. Catch Jim live weekdays beginning at 6:20 am for live local news, sports, weather and traffic plus the Community Bulletin Board, shenanigans with Ron Meredith and more on the Country Club Morning Show on WYSH & WQLA. Jim lives in Clinton with his wife Kelly and daughter Carolina, his mother-in-law and cats Lucius and Oliver.

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