It's a favorite childhood past time, a game of hopscotch on a summer day, a contest entry at a Fourth of July block party. But today, in the eyes of the law, chalk art is a form of malicious vandalism that could land you in jail. Dorothy, we're not in Kansas anymore.
"Over the past five years," writes Harkinson, "at least 48 people in 13 American cities have run afoul of authorities for coloring things with chalk. The vast majority were arrested in connection with drawing designs or messages on public streets or sidewalks." A YouTube video accompanying the article shows art teacher Alexander Schaefer chalking words of protest in front of a Chase Bank, and subsequently, being arrested.
Harkinson describes recent incidents that have made Los Angeles "The war on chalk's most active front." Following numerous arrests at an ArtWalk in downtown Los Angeles last month, Occupy LA planned the first Chalkupy the World Day for last Thursday, resulting in more arrests.
"The recent chalk arrests might just be a warm-up for a chalk-pocalypse at the upcoming Democratic and Republican national conventions," writes Harkinson, "which in past years have been targeted by a wide range of chalk terrorists."