York City seeks sidewalk artists

Sean Philip Cotter

Hey, teens: York City wants you to graffiti its sidewalks.

Eat Play Breathe

The city wants York County high schoolers to submit ideas for sidewalk art that follows two basic tenets: It looks cool and involves some sort of interactive element of play.

That could mean the art encourages people to hopscotch across it, or maybe it could suggest some dance moves — something to get people moving and help beautify the city, said Paige Nenstiel, who oversees many parts of the city's Eat Play Breathe initiative.

That initiative promotes healthy lifestyles, and the Playful Sidewalks Project, as the city's calling this latest effort, is part of it.

Nenstiel, who is the personal fitness coordinator for the YMCA of York, said the city's still seeking submissions; anyone interested should email her at pnenstiel@yorkcoymca.org. An interested teen should submit his or her full name, address, phone number, age, email and title of the sidewalk art piece on a cover sheet along with a photo or color sketch of the art. The artists should also include information about what paints they'll need.

The chosen artists will be given up to a 112-inch-by-48-inch space of sidewalk as well as supplies and volunteers to help them put it together, she said.

All submissions have to be in by Friday, May 27. On Friday, June 17, the artists have to be available to come work on their creations; that's the day when the city's going to have all the the artists and volunteers put the paintbrushes to the pavement.

The Eat Play Breathe initiative has put several pieces of "playful sidewalk" art around town already. They're mostly around the downtown area, so now the city wants to branch out more.

"Our goal is to put them through the entire city," she said. The locations are still yet to be determined, but they're looking to put some near schools, so kids walking to or from school are encouraged to stop and, as House of Pain once said, jump around on their way.

Right now, the city's planning for six new pieces of sidewalk art, Nenstiel said.

"It's meant to incorporate physical activity into people's lives," she said of the initiative.

And any adults walking by these pieces of art once they're on the ground can feel free to play on them, too.

"It kind of brings out the kid in you," Nenstiel said.

— Reach Sean Cotter atscotter@yorkdispatch.com or on Twitter at@SPCotterYD.