The Hippo


May 25, 2020








A past NHIA-organized chalk art competition. Katherine Donovan photos.

Attend Chalk the Block!

Where: Bronstein Park, located at the corner of Hanover and Union streets, Manchester
When: Saturday, Sept. 26, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Admission: $15 per chalk space; kids can create in a separate designated area for free; day-of registration will be accepted, but organizers would like artists to sign up early so they can determine how much space is needed
Prizes: More than $750 in cash prizes for winners
Contact: 232-5597,,,
10 a.m.: Check-in begins
11 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.: Music, entertainment, food, artists draw
2:30 p.m.: Drawing stops, artists check out and return unused materials
2:30 to 2:45 p.m.: Judges cast votes
2:45 p.m.: Winners announced

Chalk the block
Manchester hosts chalk art competition

By Kelly Sennott

This weekend’s chalk art competition at Bronstein Park is the first of what co-organizer Newton Kershaw III hopes will be many community events in the Hanover corridor — i.e., the area between Elm, Hanover and Chestnut streets — which he, along with his company, Elm Grove Companies, has been trying to brand as Manchester’s cultural mecca.

He brought the idea to Studio 550’s Monica Leap and Intown Manchester Executive Director Sara Beaudry just over a month ago. They began planning immediately.
Leap, coincidentally, had been fiddling with the idea of producing a city-wide chalk art competition as well. She’d seen very successful events like this in cities all over, including Chelsea, Michigan, and Syracuse, New York, and agreed with Kershaw that it was a great, inexpensive way to bring the community together through art.
“You don’t have to be a sidewalk chalk artist. Kids and parents can sign up together,” Leap said. “In future years, when it grows, we can expand it to other parts of the city to become sort of a chalk art walk. We’re starting small this year.”
Chalk the Block!, produced by Studio 550, Elm Grove Companies and Intown Manchester, happens this Saturday, Sept. 26, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. There will be food vendors, live music, entertainment and, most importantly, chalk art brightening the sidewalks that surround the park. 
Artists young and old, beginner and advanced are invited to purchase a $15 4-foot by 4-foot space to create on. The entry fee includes a basic chalk box, but participants are encouraged to bring their own chalk or pastels, especially if their designs have a predominant color. (“If you’re creating a bunch of minions, it makes sense to bring your own two colors of yellow and blue, just to make sure you have enough,” Leap said.) If they desire, they may also bring their own tools — brushes, sponges, Q-tips, spray bottle with water, etc., though everything must be water-based or temporary. Kids can create in the “kid’s corner” for free. 
Some tips for artists: “When you’re putting down your color, instead of doing intricate, detail stuff right away, put down a bunch of chalk and rub it into the background. You want what you’re going to do to be high-impact,” Leap said. 
A big chalkboard eraser can work well for laying down large areas of color.
Kershaw would like to see many more community- and culture-focused events like this happening in the vicinity. He and Leap have been playing with the idea of creating a historical scavenger hunt, which might happen in the springtime. It’s in his own interests to create a more thriving, walkable community in the area — his company is in the process of building The Flats at Hanover Commons, a building of micro-unit apartments targeted at millennials that will connect Bronstein Park (formerly Hanover Commons) to Elm Street.
“We’re trying to build a neighborhood around that area and focus on the regentrification of that neighborhood, instead of just focusing on real estate development,” Kershaw said. 
The idea is to brand the area as Manchester’s cultural district and to create a sense of place there. 
“There are so many cultural aspects of the Hanover corridor — there’s beautiful architecture, the Palace Theatre, and the New Hampshire Institute of Art,” Kershaw said. “There’s a lovely church, and then the park.” 

®2020 Hippo Press. site by wedu