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Peace, Love and Chalk Art
story and photo by Audrey Poff

Several months into the COVID-19 pandemic, colorful chalk art began surfacing on the sidewalks of Downtown Jonesboro, offering encouraging messages and inspiration to pedestrians as they walked to their destination.

As summer turned to fall, more people began to notice the chalk art and the artist behind the effort, Lindsey Grogan.

A native of Woodlawn, located just south of Pine Bluff, Grogan came to Jonesboro to study history at Arkansas State University, where she met her husband, Riley.

“My passion for art started in high school because of my amazing art teacher, Mrs. Nickie Owens,” said Grogan.

Grogan describes herself as being a mostly self-taught artist who uses chalk as her primary medium. She also paints garden signs, flowerpots and window art.

As for her recent chalk creations, the artist said she began writing messages of inspiration with colorful illustrations on downtown sidewalks in August.

“I was teaching my children a lesson in using your talents to encourage and spread kindness to others,” said Grogan, who can often be spotted drawing chalk art with her two children, Ezra, 8, and Gwenie, 5.

“Look at the sunny side of everything” was the message written in chalk on a downtown sidewalk near Gearhead Outfitters in September, complimented by a vibrant yellow sun. “Add a little confetti to every day” was written in another location, accented with colorful stars and streamers. “Never stop making wishes” was the message Grogan wrote outside of the Sara Howell Gallery on Main Street in October with a single dandelion drawn alongside the message. More recently, a garden of fresh produce illustrated in chalk sprouted outside The Parsonage, conveying the restaurant’s farm to table concept.

Seasonal art and silly jokes are also among Grogan’s favorite illustrations. From illustrations encouraging people to vote on Election Day to Halloween-inspired spiders, pumpkins and “Hocus Pocus”-themed creations, downtown is a blank canvas for Grogan, and visitors seem to enjoy her artistic endeavors.

“I’ve had all positive feedback,” said Grogan.

Her personal favorite to date, she says, is an illustration of “The Golden Girls” that she drew near The Forum Theatre.
As for supplies, Grogan is passionate about her collection of chalk.

“I can’t just choose one,” she said of her chalk supply. “I am obsessed with Prang Ambrite colored chalk, Crayola chalk, Soho Urban Artist jumbo street pastels and soft chalk pastels.”

Although she sometimes uses other mediums for various projects, chalk is Grogan’s first choice.

“It’s the blending of the chalk,” she said. “It’s just so satisfying.”

Using her abilities to provide inspiration, however, is what keeps her motivated.

“I enjoy all the happiness and smiles that it has brought to others,” said Grogan. “I have gained so many new friends along my chalk journey.”

While Grogan’s inspirational artwork downtown has been self-funded, she also provides commissioned illustrations for weddings, birthdays, business promotions and other events. For more information, follow her on Instagram @CHALK_MAMA.