Chalk near one of Michael Arcega's posts on Valencia.

En Español

Some 300 residents chalked it up on Valencia between 16th and 20th Streets for the second night in a row on Saturday, participating in a guerrilla art project orchestrated by a 36-year-old unemployed techie who described himself in an e-mail as “just a guy, as Zaphod said in The Hitchhiker’s Guide.”

When reporters for Mission Loc@l left at around 2 a.m. Sunday to edit the video, the chalking was still going on.

Michael Bruton started his chalk project earlier this month at the public posts unveiled on Valencia by providing pedestrians with all the equipment they needed to make original posts.

Chalk near one of Michael Arcega’s posts on Valencia.

“Most of the poetry/stories and initial non-commercial art was mine as well as the daily update,” he wrote in an e-mail.

Putting out the chalk and paper near the posts by Michael Arcega was Bruton’s way to keep the posts open for dialogue instead of a place to put up fliers already on the block in five other places, he wrote.

The sidewalk chalk posts became a derivative of Arcega’s post project.

On Friday night, pedestrians chalked it up until around 2 a.m. with the 700 pieces of chalk. Bruton said he just kept moving the chalk around to different places.

Stay tuned for Bruton’s next outing.

For more on Bruton’s philosophy, click here.

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Founder/Executive Editor. I’ve been a Mission resident since 1998 and a professor emeritus at Berkeley’s J-school since 2019 when I retired. I got my start in newspapers at the Albuquerque Tribune in the city where I was born and raised. Like many local news outlets, The Tribune no longer exists. I left daily newspapers after working at The New York Times for the business, foreign and city desks. Lucky for all of us, it is still there.

As an old friend once pointed out, local has long been in my bones. My Master’s Project at Columbia, later published in New York Magazine, was on New York City’s experiment in community boards.

Right now I'm trying to figure out how you make that long-held interest in local news sustainable. The answer continues to elude me.

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  1. Excelente Video. Si escribir o dibujar en la banqueta con gises es considerado como arte por algunos y por otros no,eso no importa. Las personas necesitan mas vías para expresar lo que sienten. La banqueta se lava, y santo remedio. La carga que la persona libero al expresarse por ese medio no tiene precio…Bueno si, se ahorro una consulta al sicólogo..

  2. I spent a chunk of this AM cleaning the street;

    As far as I could tell, I got all of the chalk off of the buildings on both sides of Valencia, 16th to 20th, and I removed all obscenities and childish (obscene) drawings that I was able to find. Please believe me when I say that the intent was *not* to have that type of output created, but lessons are being learned and filed away.

  3. hey, I’m the original Chalkman, but I focus on 18th and Dolores, and do it with my kids….

  4. Well, this example of “street art” was rife with childish renditions of explicit drawings of genitalia and foul language. Such a joy to see as I walked down Valencia yesterday afternoon……….

  5. I can see the point, and guess that it all depends on one’s definition of art, which is contentious in and of itself:

    If art is a specific, structured, designed activity, then I agree that the materials are structured, but the output is not, so it may fall short of the definition;

    If art is simply something done for creative purposes and to enrich the senses, and not for any monetary/political/specific reason, then I think this would fit. But ‘project’ is likely the best word to describe it – experiment also fits as well, unless the recurrence becomes regularized.

  6. If anything, this is an activity, not art, and not an art activity, either. It is a way of “being here now” which is less permanent that spray paint but in the sort run just as annoying. It falls under the heading of Junking Up the Environment, says I.