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H St NE streetscape w/ Yoga District logo in the foreground

And it’s even sweeter when you can share your successes with others.

About one week ago, my agent encouraged me to participate in the First Annual H Street Chalk Walk. She shot me a short email saying “You’re an artist…you should do this.” It was a community sponsored event, where artists were invited to partner with local businesses in the H Street Corridor and create chalk art inspired by the theme “Your Neighborhood Is Your Business.” While I am not a resident of the H Street Corridor (otherwise known as the Atlas District), one of my favorite DC yoga organizations, Yoga District, opened a studio in the neighborhood this month. I thought it would be a wonderful opportunity to partner with them and get studio members involved as well – it turned out to be an extremely rewarding collaboration.

Armed with a 4’x4’ black chalkboard, approximately 50 pieces of street chalk, and my subject (H Street NE) surrounding me, I went to work. For almost four hours in 80 degree DC weather, I went to work. I decided to create a streetscape of H Street NE, using various shades of the pastel street chalk to depict the colorful buildings in my view. Passers-by stopped to admire my work (or maybe they were concerned that I might faint from the heat), and I encouraged Yoga District members as they exited the studio to write words of inspiration on my piece. Moreover, I was graced with two young sisters who asked to add a rainbow to my colorful sky – clearly, if they thought it was a necessary addition, I had to comply.

Btw, have I mentioned that this event was a competition?? Well, it was. And I must admit, I was concerned that I was out of my league. I am not a street artist, I am not a graffiti artist, I am not a muralist, nor am I any other artist whose canvas is some form of concrete or brick-like surface. I was sure that I had no chance of winning, and wasted about ten solid minutes wondering what the other artist were creating. ~~ Practicing yoga in a studio can evoke similar feelings of being inadequate, or not measuring up to others. It is sometimes easy to become distracted by the person on the mat next to you, stretching and gliding into poses like a professional acrobat, making you wonder if you stumbled into the wrong class. But it is important to keep in mind that yoga is not a competition. Your practice is part of a larger community of practice, and it is not about comparisons. ~~

So, after about ten minutes of getting worked up about the Chalk Walk competition, I decided that it didn’t matter. Between the studio members participating and the children scribbling on my creation, my efforts to make it a collaborative, interactive experience was a success (similar to my “…Is My Yoga mats” that I feature at art festivals). And before the event was over, I decided that I had already won – I won a great artist-business partnership, I won the support of the Yoga District and H Street communities, and, well, to top it all off, I won a trophy. Among several extremely talented artists, my creation was the “Judge’s Choice” 🙂

A special thanks to friends who stopped by while I worked, and offered fantastic suggestions that made it into the final piece – bike lanes filled with bike-sharers, sidewalk cafes, and rooftop dwellers.

My materials...

Setting up the streetscape

Taking shape!

Helping hands