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Altus' ever-growing Walkin' On Chalk set for end of month

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ALTUS, Okla. – In the memorable Alfred Hitchcock film Spellbound which was produced by David Selznick, who also produced Gone With The Wind there is a complex dream sequence that was done by surrealist artist Salvador Dali that included a large eye and a razor that was close to it.

Visitors to the community of Altus in southwest Oklahoma annual “Walkin’ On Chalk” event a year ago saw a surprisingly similar eye in bright pastel colors that was drawn by a contestant.

When that event is held this year March 26 on the Altus Town Square visitors will surely again see drawings that give insight into those that created them.

Previously, an African American youth drew a large image of boxer Muhammad Ali while a somewhat older Native American girl worked on an image of a proud Indian chief. An Altus High School student named Reese Henry produced a portrait of slain ex-Beatle John Lennon that was immediately recognizable to anyone who grew up in the 1970’s and some of those viewing that work could be heard explaining to the children with them who John Lennon was and what he represented to a previous generation of young people around the world.

Several groups of young people worked together on drawings, and not surprisingly their work often featured more than one person.

Little children gleefully drew fierce dinosaurs and tiny creatures that appeared to have been inspired by animated images from popular cartoon films.

Live bands played as well, and they may have inspired the drawings of cowboys and horses that were etched.  

Altus is the home of an Air Force Base, and that may account for the number of men and women in military uniforms that were drawn.

After all of the participants have completed their drawings, a group of judges make their way around the square and eventually select several works to be honored with awards. The criteria used for the judging is not disclosed.

All of the work done is photographed by the Altus Main Street organization and preserved visual art will also be seen in the air in the form of posters on street lights that have been drawn by students at Altus High School.

A flotilla of food trucks will be present again to provide sustenance to the artists and spectators, and it has been reported that efforts have been made to ensure that healthy food will be available this year.

Artists will be offering their creations for sale as well, and their number will include Wengai Kahuni, who works in metal and beads and has participated in other events in Altus that were sponsored by the Altus Main Street organization.

According to Amy Jo Cobb of Altus Main Street, this will be the 13th year that the event has been held, and that it has drawn more participants and attendees each year.

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Bill O'Brien

Bill O'Brien is an attorney based in Oklahoma City.

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Red Dirt Report was launched July 4, 2007 as an independent news website covering all manner of news, culture, entertainment and lifestyle stories that affect and interest Oklahoma readers and readers outside of our state. Our mission is to educate, promote civic engagement and discourse on public policy, government and politics. Our experienced journalists provided balanced in-depth coverage of news stories that affect Oklahomans. Our opinion/editorial stories come from a wide range of political view points. We carry out our mission by reporting, writing, and posting news and information. read more

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