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Chalk on the Walk - Frequently Asked Questions
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When is it?


Sunday, May 6, 2018

Rain date: Sunday, May 20th


Where is it?


On Church Street in Harvard Square, Cambridge, Massachusetts. Begins at the corner of Brattle Street and Church Street, stretching along Church Street.


Questions from Artists


What type of chalks are used?

We usually supply Prang Gallery 12 Freart chalks as the basic supply Each new box of chalk contains 12 colors (including black and white). There are also a couple dozen additional colors and boxes of used chalk pieces available for switching around with other artists to put together enough of the colors you may need. (See below) There's usually a shortage of black (very hard to get) and we have a supply of charcoal briquettes as a good alternative.


May I bring my own chalks?

We supply a very broad range of chalk colors – FREE. You may bring your own, but only if they are washable sidewalk-type chalks (and we will check for environmental reasons). Very definitely, no fixatives!!


Where do I pick up the chalks?

At the registration desk located at the corner of Church and Brattle Streets.


What if I need more chalk? 

We've got plenty of extra chalk, but feel free to swap with your neighbors for colors you need and/or aren't using.  At the end of the day, you can either keep your chalks or bring the extra back to the chalk table. The donated chalk is given to "Our Place", the day care center for homeless children run by the Salvation Army.


What should I bring with me (artist)?

A hat to block the sun, water or other beverage, something to sit/kneel on. Many artists use disposable latex gloves to protect their hands. If you are registered, you will be sent a list of items to bring and not bring (boom boxes, dogs) along with directions.


When can I start working?

10:00 a.m. is the official start time. We're not allowed to start earlier for safety reasons as vehicles can be on the street until 10:00.


How long does it take?

Most artists finish in a couple of hours, but there is no real time limit. If you wish to compete for the prizes, you must be finished by 3:00 p.m., which is when the judging begins.


When are prizes awarded?

Prizes are awarded at 3:30 p.m. or so. If you are not there in person, we will mail your prize to you. (Make sure you complete all the contact info on the Artists form.)


Do I need a sponsor?

Great if you do have a sponsor, but if you don't have one, we will match you with one. There are approximately 65 squares available from sponsors. If you aren't registered in advance, there may not be a square available for you on the day of the event.


Can I register at the event?

Yes, but only if there is space available. If you haven't registered, please come early.


Can I bring someone to help me?

By all means, the more the merrier! We have several "teams" that regularly participate.



General Questions


Are children allowed to participate?

Yes, we have a space set aside just for kids under 12. There is no charge for them to play.


What happens to the drawins?

Sadly they are washed away at the end of the day. However, we do photograph them all and post them on our website. Feel free to take as many pictures as you would like.


Can I get on the mailing list?

Yes, but it is an e-mail list.  We regularly e-mail to anyone who has participated in the past. Please contact us at ChalkOnTheWalk@gmail.com


What happens if it rains?

If it is a light rain, we do it anyway and hope it stops. Bring plastic sheeting if the skies look threatening. Anything heavier, the whole MayFair event is postponed. See top of page for the rain date.


Where does the money go?

To the Cambridge Rotary Educational Fund, Inc., a Club-sponsored charity that makes grants to local educational and charitable organizations. A list of past beneficiaries of the Fund is on the Chalk on the Walk > Beneficiaries page of this website.


What is Cambridge Rotary?

Rotary is an organization of business and professional leaders united worldwide who believe in the ideal of Service Above Self. Its goal is to build a better world, emphasizing service activities by individuals and groups that enhance the quality of life and human dignity, encouraging high ethical standards and creating peace in the world.  In nearly 200 countries worldwide, 1.2 million Rotarians belong to more than 34,000 Rotary Clubs that provide opportunities for local business people to serve their community in a wide variety of ways.


Will there be refreshments/sanitary facilities?

The MayFair has a food festival as part of the program and there will be facilities all through Harvard Square.



Questions from Sponsors


What does it cost to participate?

From  $300 to $1,000 for regular sponsors –, the amount depending on the size of the square you sponsor. The biggest squares(10' x 12') are $1,000. Major Sponsorships (with additional publicity) are available for $1,500. Forms for regular and major sponsorship are on this website.


How is my name/business displayed?

Each square has a display sign with the name of the sponsor. And large posters with the names of all the sponsors are at each end of the Chalk on the Walk space.


How many people attend?

On average the Harvard Square MayFair draws over 100,000 attendees each year.


Do I have to provide an artist?

Yes, if you want to. Perhaps you have a talented employee or a talented customer who may deserve a treat. Or, you could set up a raffle or contest with the square as a prize.  It's a lot of fun to put together a team of employees to produce something. But, if none of these appeals, the Rotary Club of Cambridge will be happy to provide an artist for you.


Can I have the artist produce an image of my chosing?

If you provide your own artist, you can speak to them about the image you would like to have depicted on your square.  Sponsors who would like, for example, their corporate logo, will have to make arrangements with an artist of their choosing in advance. If the Rotary Club of Cambridge provides an artist for you, the assignment happens on the morning of the event as artists sign in. It is too late to request a specific image at that point.


Is the cost tax deductible?

Yes, both as a charitable donation and an advertising business expense.


Can I have more than one artist draw on my spot (a team)?

Yes. Last year, some corporate sponsors put together employee teams as a fun event. You may want to challenge one of your competitors to a friendly contest!


How long does it take?

Most artists finish in a couple of hours, but there is no real time limit. 10:00 a.m. is the starting time. Judging for prizes begin at 3:00 p.m.