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A Little Story about Sidewalk Chalk Art…

Staff photo by Clay Schuldt Kara Carlson holds up her new book “A little Story About Sidewalk Chalk Art” at New Ulm’s Own Fair Trade & Art. Carlson will sign copies at the store on Saturday, Nov. 21. The chalk art on the wall behind her will also be up for silent auction to help raise money for local charities.

NEW ULM — Local chalk artist Kara Carlson has published a new children’s book called “A Little Story about Sidewalk Chalk Art” and will sign copies at New Ulm’s Own Fair Trade & Art store, Saturday.

The book signing is from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 21, at the fair trade store. Curbside pick-up of the book is available.

Carlson’s book features a collection of her chalk art drawings she created during the COVID-19 pandemic. Early in the pandemic, Carlson read about citizens writing positive messages on sidewalks to raise morale. She saw this as a great pastime and a way to release the pressure of living under COVID.

Armed with a steady supply of chalk she used the time to brighten up the boulevard in front of her home on South Washington Street. Carlson’s artwork caught the eye of many neighbors and made her sidewalk a popular place to walk past.

A few neighbors encouraged her to take pictures of her chalk drawings, as these images were temporary. Carlson photographed every chalk drawing and soon realized she had enough images for a book.

Her book includes most of the chalk images she created and tells the story behind the drawings and how her art changed. In the early days, her drawings included puns and simple jokes, but later Carlson included riddles, fictional characters and philosophical messages. One section even documents how Carlson handled the rain washing away her artwork.

Many books coming out of the pandemic will likely have a darker tone, but Carlson is proud that her book is bright and positive while acknowledging COVID. It is the rare children’s book about the health crisis that is not overly serious and grim. The original idea behind the chalk art was to raise spirits.

In addition to selling her book, New Ulm’s Own will also hold a silent auction of original chalk drawings done by Carlson on slate boards. The money raised from the auction will benefit local charities.

Signed copies of “A little Story about Sidewalk Chalk Art” will be available Saturday at New Ulm’s own. Individuals are able to call 354-3458 to order a copy in advance and pick up the book from the parking lot behind the store.

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