Makaila Baez carefully chose, looking closely at a small plastic bucket to choose a thick dusty chalk of the right shade.
When she noticed the perfect piece, the 6-year-old grabbed it with her tiny hand and set to work.
She scraped it across the rough, macadam surface of the Reading-Mullenberg Career and Technology Center parking lot, with a smile on her face.
“She loves to draw,” her mother Crystal Baez said. “So I thought of taking her outside to do what she loves. She relies on everything. “
The garden, which Makaila and her mother painted on Saturday, was one of many temporary works of art that slowly filled the parking lot. It was all part of the second annual Berk Street Art Festival Camel Project.
The Camel Project is a non-profit organization working to help communities change the culture of violence that leads to trauma and abuse.
Saturday’s event, organized in collaboration with Berks Arts, was a free outdoor experience for families filled with art, interactive activities, music and food.
“We need a day for young people and adults to balance their emotions and mental well-being with art and practical experience,” said Pamela Gockley, executive director of The Camel Project, about the idea of the event.
Included performances by the Reading High Dance team, African drum music, a tie station, food vendors and other attractions. And, of course, there was the chalk art.
Gokley said about 100 artists signed up for the draw.
Justin Heimbecker, CEO of Berks Art, said the event was a great way for people to reconnect with the community and the arts after the isolation caused by the COVID pandemic.
“The last few years have been challenging in many ways, and so we hope that this wonderful festival will give people of all backgrounds the opportunity to connect and have fun through art,” he said.