In a world where media and imagery is constant, Harleen wants to take a day to explore the impact art can have. As such, she is planning “Chalk the Block,” a daylong event to be held on the University of Southern California campus, where she will invite youth of the community to share their dreams through art. The event aims to take participants and viewers out of their everyday stresses and allow them to keep perspective, while creating a safe, encouraging space to share ideas of future aspirations. Chalk the Block incorporates community outreach, networking opportunities, and a safe space to talk about dreams and passions. With live music and food, the event will turn into a block party and hopefully attract lots of people. Ultimately, her vision is that people will be inspired and rejuvenated to go out into the world and pursue their goals.
Update on the inaugural 2014 Chalk the Block:
USC’s inaugural Chalk the Block invited local children to the USC campus to participate in an art competition. Each “chalkateer” received their very own section of the VKC courtyard and was challenged to illustrate their dreams. “Ready, Set, Draw.” And with those three words, the chalkateers were off. Within a few hours, the courtyard had transformed into a beautiful mural displaying innovative thinking, collaborative effort, and ambitious goals.
“My dream is to be a scuba diver.” “My dream is to be a veterinarian.” “My dream is to be an artist.” “My dream is to become really really rich and build an underwater mansion.” (laughter) “My dream is to be a Troy Camp Counselor.” “My dream is to go to college.”
Seeing. Thinking. Inventing. Acting. Each chalkateer was matched with a USC student mentor for the morning. Through constructive dialogue about their dreams, the chalkateers were inspired to visualize their ambitions. Likewise, by sharing this “common ground” the university students realized the commonality they had with their community. The Trojan Family grew that morning. Through breaking down barriers and building up dreams, this public space became a safe space. It became an empowering space. It became a community space.
The National Association of College and University Residence Halls awarded Chalk the Block the “highlighted activity of the month” to be implemented at universities across the nation. Chalk the Block allows for students to directly interact with their communities, by addressing privilege gaps, having open communication, and encouraging ambition. While the issues surrounding equal opportunity and resource distribution may be apparent, they can often seem so intangible for significant influence. Chalk the Block’s blueprint fosters collaborative growth in a simple and fun method that college students can easily adapt. By this, it creates future generations of open-minded leaders and its’ impact remains sustainable.
Chalk the Block encourages people to think beyond their boundaries. University students are asked to look beyond the perimeter of campus and share a common space to discover the “common ground”. Chalkateers are challenged to dream as big as they possibly can, looking past other obstacles in their lives.