If you find yourself walking down a Raleigh sidewalk and see what looks like a coloring sheet on the pavement, you might want to stop and fill it in. The sidewalk murals, which act as a real-life coloring book, allow people from around the community to add their own additions using free art supplies housed in small supply boxes at the sites.
Designer and illustrator Anna Totten created Make Your Mark, the series of interactive sidewalk murals across Raleigh.
“It keeps changing as people add to it using chalk, but the outline stays there,” Totten said. “And then with rain or a hose, it basically regenerates so that it’s an activity you can revisit over time.”
Totten came up with the idea for Make Your Mark at the beginning of the pandemic. Being a mother, she was inspired to create something fun and safe that her young kids can do outdoors while remaining COVID-19-safe.
“We're being cautious about going out, so the idea of having something that still connects you with your community was something that came to mind,” Totten said.
The project was created with the support of Raleigh Arts, Neighborhood Art Funds and with the help of Deft and Level, a carpentry company based in the Triangle.
Scott "Skinny" Eney, owner of Deft and Level, constructed the small houses that hold the free-to-use art supplies for the mural.
“Skinny was involved with helping us design and build the house in a way that was weatherproof and accessible to kids,” Totten said. “And then I was involved with the look and the art of it, doing the painting and the graphics of the boxes and painting everything on the ground.”
The art supplies inside the houses at each installation are provided by the City of Raleigh.