Without school, organized activities, sleepovers and camps to keep them busy this year, many children and teens have been feeling dejected. But 14-year-old Macaire Everett and her nine-year-old little brother, Camden, found a unique way to entertain themselves and also to brighten up life for their entire community, during the pandemic. The siblings, from Libertyville, Ill, have been creating wildly imaginative giant-scale works of sidewalk art for 100 days (and counting).
Macaire is the artist in the team and Camden poses as a living, breathing subject in the chalk images his sister creates. In a scene from Paris, for example, he strikes a selfie pose before the Eiffel Tower, and in Italy, he holds up the Leaning Tower of Pisa. There are many animal-themed moments too, such as hugging a dinosaur and doing yoga with a flamingo.
Previously a doodler, Macaire never had enough time to hone her artistic skills. But after COVID-19 put an untimely end to her last year in middle school, she set herself a challenge: to create sidewalk art every day for 100 days and dream up adventures and experiences for her little brother.
“If you look back at pictures of some of the older chalk art, you can see how much I’ve grown,” Macaire told HuffPost Canada. “The drawings got a lot more elaborate ... a lot cooler. At the beginning, Cam didn’t really go places, but now he goes all over the world, as I’ve gotten better at art from doing this every day.”
And as the images kept coming, neighbours would make a point of coming by too, to check out the latest project. “It puts a smile on people’s faces,” the teen artist said.
Macaire also posts her art on Instagram, which has spread the joy globally and attracted attention from local and national news outlets. She said “People are like ‘This is the highlight of my day,’ [in the comments], and they also say they love seeing how close Cam and I are.”
Macaire’s 100-day challenge has kept the whole family busy. The kids’ mom, Christine Everett, explained that while her husband power cleans the driveway each night, to create a clean canvas for the next day’s drawing, her job is to make sure Macaire doesn’t run out of chalk.
“The planning part is a dinner table conversation,” said Macaire. “For example, there’s one drawing where Cam’s in Australia and he’s jumping rope. We talked about how we could make it work, since he was the only person in each drawing. In the end, we thought it would be funny and ironic if I drew kangaroos holding the rope ends and he was the one jumping.”
Camden’s favourite drawing to date is one of him feeding a giraffe on safari. “I like exploring and in Africa there’s a lot of animals, and I like animals too,” he said. Macaire likes the place-based drawings most, partly because it has allowed the siblings to go on imaginary adventures. “We’ve travelled within the United States, but Cam and I have never been outside of the country. We’d like to travel more one day, so this is a little preview for us.”
Mom Christine described the whole experience as “incredible.” She explained that when COVID started, there was a lot to get used to and a lot of hard things to tell the kids. But once the children started their collaborative art project, things felt less dark.
“When they grow up, they’ll have a wonderful memory of doing this,” she said. “We hope the details of making art together will stick more than the harder things about the pandemic.”
See some of Macaire’s amazing artwork here:
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