by Larry Austin
A tradition continued Saturday in Lewiston as Grand Island High School's art team won the 27th annual Chalk Walk competition at the Lewiston Art Festival.
GIHS's 8-foot by 10-foot mural, drawn on the asphalt of Center Street in the Village of Lewiston in the middle of the festival by students Jason Chadwick, Marshall Cancilla and Abhiraj Grewal, was voted best by a panel of judges. It was the second year in a row GIHS has won the competition. Art teacher Megan Gaiek, the team's advisor for 15 years, estimated it was the school's sixth or seventh win in the event.
"It's pretty awesome. Just being able to say you're on a team that's been this good for this long is just kind of cool," said Chadwick, a member of the Class of 2011 taking part in his third Chalk Walk.
In Gaiek's 15 years advising the team, it has placed in the top three 13 times, the result, she said, of "picking the right kids."
"I watched them in their classrooms. I go into their classrooms and watch and see how they're performing," Gaiek said of the selection process. "The other art teachers also talk to me about what they're doing. And then we practice. This year, we practiced six times, which is two less than we normally do, but we had schedules and rain to contend with."
Cancilla, in his first Chalk Walk, said it feels good to "carry on the torch" for GIHS in the event.
The contest theme had muralists draw a poster for a move called "Under One Sun." Chadwick said the GIHS mural showed a quilted Earth of flags signifying "breaking down barriers between religion and culture."
In June, the group brainstormed ideas, Gaiek said. "From there, it builds, so during a couple of the practices we discovered things that we liked and kept them in, or took other things out that we thought would work, but didn't work."