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The Purple Clarion

Eclipse-inspired art to shine at ‘Chalkalypse’ competition

Francesca Messerschmidt
Seniors Regen Arnett, Bryleigh Lewis and sophomore Gracie Harrelson work on their piece for the annual chalk art contest Oct. 27. Senior Khoal Goodson was also a part of their group. The group won a Teacher’s Choice Runner up award and was the only team from Harrisburg to win an award.

More than 400 students in the Southern Illinois area are hoping to participate in the Southern Illinois University of Carbondale’s (SIUC) second annual, in-person chalk art competition, titled ‘Chalkalypse,’ April 5. Of these students, some will be from Harrisburg High School (HHS) and Harrisburg Middle School (HMS).

HHS art teacher Emily Wallace and HMS art teacher Sara DeNeal will take students to participate in the competition.

“Upon arrival, students split into their teams, find their sidewalk square, and prep their materials,” Wallace said. “At the start time, all the students begin creating their chalk mural. The students have a set amount of time to finish their artwork before they break for lunch.”

All artwork is designed before competition day.

“To apply to go, students needed to get a team of 2-4 people together and create and present a design before being accepted,” Wallace said. “All the artwork must be related to the eclipse in some way. However, students have blown me away with the fun designs they have created that reference the eclipse in creative and beautiful ways.”

Once students have completed their work, it will be judged and scored appropriately.

“The high school awards include a first, second and third place along with an Overall Chalk-Eclipse Teacher’s Choice Award,” Wallace said. “The artworks will be judged on four points: best interpretation of the eclipse theme, original imagery, composition, and technical aspects.”

HHS senior and first-year SIUC chalk art competitor Chloe Hernandez, is both excited and a bit nervous about the competition.

“I have competed in chalk art competitions before, but previously I’ve only been to the HMS ones, so I feel like this will be a new environment for me,” Hernandez said. “The only thing I’m worried about is being in a new environment because I’ve never been to SIU before other than to march in a parade they had.”

HMS seventh grader and soon-to-be second-year SIUC chalk art competitor Jacalyn Trusty is also excited for the competition.

“I’m excited for the competition because I will get to talk with friends while working on a large chalk drawing,” Trusty said. “My least favorite [part] is being outside for a long amount of time, and my favorite part is getting to work on the art.”

The art can be viewed in person at SIUC for those who wish to support the local arts.

“We would love to share photos of the artwork after they are complete,” Wallace said. “Those wishing to view the artworks in person may come to Faner Hall on April 5 or the following days leading up to the eclipse.”

Senior Wilson DeNeal adds color to his team’s artwork. DeNeal worked with seniors Leah Haugen, Justin Haney and junior Veronica Randolph. Photo by Leah Haugen.
Sophomore Sophia Lin, junior Drazha Mihalovich and seniors Chloe Hernandez and Francesca Messerschmidt completed this ocean-eclipse themed piece for the contest. Photo by Francesca Messerschmidt. 
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Kylan Jerrell
Kylan Jerrell, Staff Writer
Kylan Jerrell is a senior at Harrisburg High School. This is his first year working as an Purple Clarion staff member. He participates in the school band, playing the trombone for the concert, jazz, and marching band. He is also an active member in Key Club, History Club, Music Club and Book Club. He is passionate about literature, writing, and music.  Kylan spends his free time reading, writing short stories and poetry, practicing his instrument and listening to a wide variety of music. He plans on attending school to study both music and literature.  “Student journalism gives a voice to students, both as writers and participants in school activities. It is an essential part of the ‘High School Experience’.”
Francesca Messerschmidt
Francesca Messerschmidt, Staff Writer
Francesca Messerschmidt (she/her) is a senior at Harrisburg High School. This is her third year on the Purple Clarion staff.  She participates in theatre, plays percussion in the band is on the speech team, participates in Key Club and Art Club. She is passionate about music.  Francesca also cares about animals and things going on in the world around her. In her spare time, she likes to play games, listen to music and draw. After high school, she plans to continue pursuing journalism as a career.   “Student journalism is important to me because it helps give students a voice and a platform to educate themselves and others about current events and can help people learn how to make the world a better place.”
Leah Haugen
Leah Haugen, Staff Writer
Leah Haugen is a senior at Harrisburg High School. This is her first year as a staff member of the Purple Clarion. She participates in Art Club, History Club, and Key Club.  Leah has an interest in psychology and the medical field. In her free time, she watches medical documentaries and regularly researches psychological concepts. After graduation, she plans to attend SIU to obtain a degree in psychiatry. “Student journalism allows others to be up to date on news in their local community and the world around them through the help of their school’s newspaper team.”

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