Community responds to first Supporting Gahanna Together event

MARLA K. KUHLMAN
mkuhlman@thisweeknews.com
Gahanna resident Megan Fleischer and her daughter, Amelia, 4, paint a flower at Creekside Park on Sept. 5 during the inaugural Supporting Gahanna Together Chalk it Up activity.

Residents and organizations came together to support the community and each other during the inaugural Supporting Gahanna Together on Sept. 5.

Volunteer service projects, such as sprucing up the Gahanna Historical Society Settlement, making flower planters, cleaning a creek and participating in family-centered activities, were a few of the ways residents safely engaged with one another.

Mayor Laurie Jadwin said it was a day that reflected the spirit of the community, and she hopes it will become an annual event.

"It was encouraging to see, in a year full of challenges, people and community organizations coming together for the good of Gahanna," she said. "The volunteers I talked to were excited to be outside on what turned out to be a beautiful day and do something tangible to give back to the community we all love."

Jadwin spent time sprucing up the Gahanna Historical Society Settlement with about 20 other volunteers.

"It was really rewarding to see everyone come together. ... It was just a wonderful effort," she said. "It showed the resilience and strength of our Gahanna community."

Olde Ridenour Road resident Jacque Rich and her daughter, Emily, 5, participated in Chalk it Up at Creekside Park, where participants chose a blank section of sidewalk to draw on and create art.

"Every Saturday, we do a bike ride to Upper Cup (Coffee Co.)," Rich said. "We love art and thought we'd join."

Gahanna resident Megan Fleischer and her daughter, Amelia, 4, brought their own chalk and drew a large flower on a section of sidewalk.

"I saw there was a chalk event, and she loves to do chalk (art)," Fleischer said.

Christian Peck of the Gahanna Area Arts Council said Chalk it Up gave people the opportunity to draw at Creekside Park or at their own houses.

He said for every section of sidewalk that was chalked, a $1 donation went to the Art Garden Academy, a Gahanna family art studio, for a scholarship fund.

Jeff Aldridge, an electronics technician, said he wouldn't be moonlighting as a sidewalk-chalk artist if it hadn't been for the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic.

"I've been chalking up my sidewalk since the end of March," he said. "Since seeing kids' (sidewalk art), it got me. These kids reached me."

He created a drawing of a Pokemon character.

Gahanna's Kevin McGinn, an independent illustrator with Peabody Creative, also volunteered at Chalk it Up.

He created what he described as a representation of love, two life-like marshmallows wearing big smiles as they're toasted above a fire.

McGinn said he hopes his art helps make people smile.

Jadwin said one of the best things to come from Supporting Gahanna Together Day was the visible creativity and collaboration.

She said she appreciated the support of such community organizations as Visit Gahanna, Gahanna Community Improvement Corporation, Gahanna Chamber of Commerce, the Gahanna Parks and Recreation Foundation, the Gahanna Jefferson Education Foundation, the Gahanna Historical Society, Make Gahanna Yours, Gahanna Area Arts Council and Boy Scout Troop 898.

mkuhlman@thisweeknews.com

@ThisWeekMarla

Gahanna's Kevin McGinn, an independent illustrator with Peabody Creative, volunteers at Supporting Gahanna Together on Sept. 5. McGinn was taking part in Chalk it Up, an art activity at Creekside Park.