Chalk Murals Beautify FIT’s Exterior Once Again

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Chalk FIT, an annual tradition since 2013, brings together fourth-year Illustration students to create chalk murals along the college’s concrete exterior walls. The illustrators paint with a chalk suspension to allow for precise detail and shading.

This year, Chalk FIT went up in late October and will be viewable through the fall semester, if not longer. The theme is “The New Normal”—a look at how students have persisted through the COVID-19 pandemic. About 80 students created panels, as well as 15–20 alumni from the class of 2021 who didn’t get to participate last year. Associate Professor William Low oversaw the project this year; faculty members Richard Elmer John Nickle, and Steven Tabbutt also included their classes in the project.

“I think it’s a great way to show that we’re back in business,” said Dan Shefelman, chair of the Illustration and Interactive Media Department and the founder of Chalk FIT. “It’s also a way to show passersby all the different sides of FIT students: They’re political, they’re bright, they’re fun, and some of them are dealing with pretty dark issues.”

Shefelman pointed out two standout collaborations between students: a mural addressing suicide, by Rylie Coen and Brianna Kelly, and another, by Melanie Wong and Oscar Yohe Tapia, emphasizing the importance of imagination and fantasy while being stuck in front of a computer.

“It brings a vibrance to the community,” Shefelman says. “People look forward to it, and now it’s back up.”

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