Every September my small, Illinois hometown hosts a celebration. It’s called Paint the Town, and it’s a mark-your-calendar event for all ages. Paint the Town was created by the Children’s Art Preservation Association, the goal to offer hands-on creativity that’s affordable and available to everyone.
For the celebration, Main Street is closed to traffic. Five-by-five squares are measured and marked, with only room to work and walk in between. Aspiring artists receive a bag stuffed with chalk, primary paints, sponge brushes, and a Styrofoam plate for blending. Young moms and dads paint toddler feet and stamp squares with bright, tiny prints. Teenagers sprawl across the pavement in a torrent of artistic expression and small children inevitably wind up with red or blue appendages. Great-grandmas and great-grandpas hover in the shade, sip lemon shake-ups and tap their feet to the music of a string quartet. It’s a celebration of art, community, and the last carefree days of summer.
The day after the Paint, Main Street remains closed. The sidewalks are open for strolling, and onlookers are invited to admire the masterpieces. From Clinton Street to Grape, Main Street becomes a gallery. The colorless pavement, normally decorated only with the laid-back flow of small-town traffic, becomes a canvas of color, reds and greens and blues deep as the sea. What was dull and dark and flat radiates life and love and promise.
Lord, thank you for bringing glory to the commonplace...