One young Glen Abbey artist has been single-handedly bringing joy and happiness to her neighbors during these troubling times.
Sydney Chan, 13, has been making outdoor chalk portraits of Walt Disney sidekicks since April 30 and pairing them with encouraging statements along the back side of her family’s driveway.
The drawings are visible from the sidewalk running beside the house and leading to the community pool.
Sydney, who attends Tate’s School of Discovery, said she has been interested in art since she was a child, and has tried crayons, colored pencils, oils, acrylic and watercolor.
She said she enjoys chalk drawings “because they are really easy to blend and is something I can do on the driveway.”
That idea, and her love for Disney, led to her first drawing of Stitch from “Lilo and Stitch,” with a simple “Have a nice day!” message.
“At first, I kind of did it as a time filler,” Sydney said. “I didn’t think much of it, but a lady took a picture and posted about it on (the neighborhood) Facebook (page) and thanked me for it. Then, more and more people saw it and began coming by.”
Encouraged, Sydney went on to draw more than two dozen characters, including Winnie the Pooh, with the caption, “Hope your day is as sweet as honey!”
Accompanying Dory, a character from both “Finding Nemo” and “Finding Dory,” she wrote, “Just keep swimming!”
One day, Abu from “Aladdin,” greeted neighbors with a cheery “Glad to see you!” Sydney also has drawn Olaf from “Frozen,” Remi from “Rataoullie,” Pumba and
Timon from “The Lion King,”
BB8 from Star Wars and even Baby Yoda from “The Mandalorian.
“Many of our neighbors have told us they started changing their walking routes to come by and see what Sydney had drawn that day,” said her mother, Elizabeth Chan. “It has brought a lot of young people from the neighborhood, too, and has really been one way we have all connected.”
Neighbor Jenni Craddick said, “I so love seeing the drawings — it is a highlight of our evening walks! Confession: some days I get too excited to wait until evening, and the art becomes the highlight of my morning or afternoon walks instead.”
“Thanks for sharing your talent,” said Jim Lett, who’s wife, Candace Lett, notified farragutpress of the artist and artwork. “Brightens our day.”
“Our talented neighborhood artist encourages us every day with a new piece of sidewalk chalk art,” Candace posted on the social media app Nextdoor.com. “Appreciate her efforts so much.”
“This is become a great tradition for Glen Abbey,” commented Bob Wrather. “Great job bringing our neighbors together! Thanks!”
“I have really liked being able to encourage people during COVID,” Sydney said. “A lot of people have been pretty sad about being in quarantine, and it’s really been nice that something so simple can make such a great impact.”
Sydney said she carefully checks weather reports, and when it seems as though the area will be rain free for a day or so, she begins working on her next artwork. Sometimes it takes as little as 30 minutes, but sometimes it has taken as long as two hours, she said.
Though “the pandemic has not been a good thing in so many ways,” it has been an opportunity for Sydney, Elizabeth added. “We (along with Sydney’s father, Kar-Wing Chan) are so proud of Sydney. It has been so wonderful that we can help each other out through this pandemic.
“Who knew chalk drawings could do so much?”