Sidewalk Art Inspires Hope and Spirits in Bay Village

The inspiring sidewalk art on Bassett Road in Bay Village has been sending messages of hope all summer long. Lizzie Durny (right) started the drawings the day before Easter. “In these times, people are looking for hope and joy,” Lizzie said. She was frequently joined by neighbor Stacey Gepperth (left).

The noble heart of humankind has always been inspired by art.

In Bay Village near the corner of Ashton Lane, Bassett Road neighbors Lizzie Durny and Stacey Gepperth have been sending messages of hope with sidewalk art all summer. An evolving montage of chalk art has inspired passers-by for months.

“Stacey and I are good friends,” Lizzie said. “We like doing fun and adventurous things together.

“We started this chalking project the day before Easter since Easter is a sign of hope and joy to many. We thought this was a great opportunity to lift the spirits of those going through difficult times through our messages.

“At the same time, we quickly saw that this project was uplifting to us as well. I know being out there makes me feel like I’m in another world; I don’t even notice the cars going by. It brings me peace. Afterwards something compelled me to continue with the drawings.

“When I’m having a hard day, everything changes after I’ll write something like: ‘Have a Great Day,’ ‘Put your Positive Pants On’ or I draw a butterfly or flower (with the help of the internet). Then I always hope that the messages will help someone else as well.”

Over the last months Lizzie was joined several times by Stacey, who shares in the creative mission.

Public response has been enthusiastic.

“One day, a young lady came and knocked on my door,” said Lizzie. “She said she wanted me to know how much these drawings mean to her and she started to cry.”

Another time, a man slowed down his car and yelled out “Love your work!”

Yet another time a man jogging by pounded on his chest and said “You have a great heart! I love your messages.”

A woman and little girl passed by one day and the little girl said: “Mommy, this one says ‘You’re a star!’ I didn’t know I was a star,” responded the girl. Others stop while walking or cycling just to look, take a few pictures and even videos.

“I love chalking for my neighbors and community. Creating the sidewalk messages has been a joy and a passion of mine over the last five months. Every rain has given me the opportunity to create a brand new canvas.” says Lizzie. “And as much as I love the times I’ve worked with Stacey since she is quite an artist, I wanted her to have much of the same experiences especially since she deserves their positive comments. So now I talked her into doing her own walkway!”

“I call Lizzie the sunshine princess,” said Stacey.

“The fun of sidewalk chalking and the joy of sharing love and positive messages,” says Stacey in a facebook post. “My neighbor and I first chalked her sidewalk right before Easter as a creative fun joint endeavor on a Saturday night… periodically since then I chalk with her… but she has kept the messages going every single day!!! “She has heard story after story from many individuals of how her sidewalk art and messages have inspired and encouraged… Now she has me chalking my sidewalk too, so this is for you… #sidewalkchalk   #positivity  #sunshinesidewalk  #cmachalkfestival  www.facebook.com/stacey.gepperth/videos/10221239895020729/

Not even rain can hold back the hopeful enthusiasm of this team. “I kind of like the idea that these messages can get washed away,” said Stacey. “It means you have to appreciate the thought while it is here. And it gives you a chance to look for more inspiration.”

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