By Alicia Doyle

The Writer
Specializing in Good News
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Sidewalk becomes a canvas at Arts in the Park in Ventura

William Zin, of Long Beach, works on his piece of sidewalk art during Saturday’s Arts in the Park event at Ventura Harbor. Zin was among 31 chalk artists participating in the fundraiser for FOOD Share.


A chalk artist and humanitarian with a dog named Coco, Larry Diaz celebrated his pet’s birthday while giving back to charity by exhibiting his craft on the sidewalk at the fifth annual Arts in the Park to benefit FOOD Share.

“I live for trying to put good in the world,” said Diaz, 31, of Rancho Cucamonga, who drew his dog’s face on the concrete in a 6-foot by 4-foot space. “It’s Coco’s sixth birthday, so I want to commemorate her ... and if I give back in any way by doing this, I definitely will.”

Diaz was among 31 chalk artists and numerous vendors who participated in the annual event at Ventura Harbor.

“The chalk artists are out here working all day for free,” said Jordan Brown, special events coordinator at FOOD Share, a nonprofit that provides millions of pounds of food a year to the needy throughout Ventura County.

Each chalk artist obtained sponsorships to benefit FOOD Share, while artists with booths paid an application and booth fee to participate, with the opportunity to donate a percentage of their sales to the charitable food bank.

“This event combines artists showing their work in booths with street chalk artists using the sidewalk as their canvas,” said Barbara Hinton, founder and executive director of Arts in the Park.

“These chalk artists are creating true works of art that are temporary,” said Hinton, who also said this year’s event is hoped to raise at least $20,000 for FOOD Share. “Several of the artists have traveled overseas to create chalk art. We also have some outstanding artists exhibiting at the event.”

Ventura resident Mark Rubin, who creates sculptures with eucalyptus trees, donated 10 percent of his proceeds to FOOD Share.

“It’s the right thing to do,” said his wife, Nina Rubin, as she staffed the booth Saturday. “It’s important to help support others in our community who do not have it as good as we do.”

Linda Queally, who specializes in handmade jewelry with freshwater pearls, vintage beads and milagros from Mexico, also donated 10 percent to FOOD Share.

“I know they’re the food bank that feeds people here in Ventura County,” said Queally, of La Canada. “It’s important to support FOOD Share because they help people who don’t’ have the money to take care of themselves.”

Chalk artist Ruth Villa, of Simi Valley, drew an image on the sidewalk of her 4-year-old son, Leonardo, wearing a firefighter’s hat.

“He loves firemen,” said Villa, 36. “Doing this by the beach with a beautiful view in your own spot, you cannot go wrong. And it’s important because we’re helping others. It feels good.”

Hinton added that she’s grateful to all the artists for sharing their time and talent with the community while supporting a local nonprofit.

“Besides creating a pleasant experience for attendees and providing a wonderful venue for the artists to show and sell their work,” she said, “we are able to help others and give back.”

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