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Published September 03, 2012, 02:41 PM

Chalk Art Unlocks a World 'Inside' the Sidewalk

Some of the best art can evoke a physical response from viewers, but usually not vertigo.

By: Robb Jeffries, Grand Forks Herald

Some of the best art can evoke a physical response from viewers, but usually not vertigo.

A new 3-D chalk art display outside the Empire Arts Center can leave passersby with that feeling.

“It’s pretty sweet,” Steve Howe said as he stopped his Saturday bike ride to take in the mural. “I haven’t seen anything like this.”

Artists Melanie Stimmell and Anat Ronen, from a firm called “We Talk Chalk,” completed a mural in the alley east of the Empire on Friday. The mural depicts a phoenix soaring through a library, with the UND eternal flame burning in the middle.

“When you stand in the correct place, it will look like you’re coming up from a library,” Stimmell told the Herald on Tuesday as she and Ronen began their work transforming the alley.

“You get a better angle looking at the back part,” Dan Jones said while surveying the mural, adding that it looked like you could fall in to the library.

Chalk art can last anywhere from a few days to several months. The mural outside the Empire is semi-permanent, meaning it should last upwards of two months. Foot traffic and the weather can speed up erosion of the mural.

The mural is part of the opening of the “UND Art Collection” display at the Empire, which opened to the public Tuesday. The collection will be housed at the Empire for the next year, and features work from world-renowned artists and UND contributors alike.

“It’s really truly amazing,” said Julie Follette, who took in the mural Saturday afternoon. “With everything going on inside the Empire, this is a really nice addition.”

The free exhibit is open from noon to 5 p.m. Tuesdays and Thursdays and from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturdays.

To see more samples of We Talk Chalk’s work at www.WeTalkChalk.com.

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