Coast Hills

OCAF — the folks who bring you the Chalk Festival — also bring arts back into schools

by Joshua D. Scroggin
October 06, 2016
OCAF Chalk Festival

Orcutt Chalk Festival Dante

What better way to experience the difference art can make in a child’s life than by seeing it, making it and becoming it for yourself?

That’s how it works at the Orcutt Children’s Arts Foundation Chalk Festival, which had its fifth annual chalk throwdown come and go on September 30.

For $10 apiece, kids get a box of sidewalk chalk and plot of their own at Orcutt Union Plaza, where anyone can see both professional and amateur artists create stunning drawings on the streets of Old Town Orcutt.

More than 350 kids participated, and plenty of those went home with enough chalk powder caking their arms and legs to fit right in propped up in an art gallery themselves.

A day-long event lasting from 10 a.m. all the way until 5 p.m., the Chalk Festival also featured internationally renowned street artist Ever Galvez and live musical sets from local and regional acts, including a headlining performer from Disney’s Frozen show at California Adventure Park. And for the first time, the Chalk Festival also hosted artisans and vendors selling crafts and jewelry.

Among its many sponsors, the Chalk Festival also received a $500 Community Action Sponsorship from the CoastHills Community Foundation.

OCAF Chalk Festival StreetIt was all to raise money and awareness for OCAF, a nonprofit organization that’s been helping put visual and performing arts back into local schools for nearly 15 years. Formed in 2002 by a group of volunteers, OCAF has raised more than half a million dollars since then supporting arts programs in the Orcutt Union School District.

Each year, OCAF provides funding for lessons taught by professional artists in dance, drama, music or visual arts that reach every student in the district from kindergarten through sixth grade. Classroom mini-grants by the foundation are awarded to teachers in the district through a proposal competition each fall. OCAF also helps support band, orchestra, drama and other music programs throughout the district.

“In a perfect world, we’d love to see a performing arts center in Orcutt,” OCAF Executive Director Ali Bailey said. “That would be a rather large capital project. As a parent, I’m in support of Measure G. Our school district is in need. There are many repair and safety issues, and the classrooms are just bursting at the seams. There are certainly great facilities needs here in Orcutt.”

Interested in supporting OCAF? Visit the foundation’s website, where you can donate or purchase a membership. Membership levels start at $10, and family packages include discounts to OCAF’s three annual art camps, one each during the winter, spring and summer breaks.

And if you know of a community organization looking for support, visit the CoastHills Community Foundation’s Community Action Sponsorship page and apply for a grant. Our Community Action Committee can award up to $500 a year each to local nonprofits and hands out $25,000 annually. 


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