SUMMERSIDE – Wednesday was a good day for Wyatt Heritage Properties Inc. and partner organization City of Summerside’s when Lori Ellis, Director of Wyatt Heritage Properties Inc. opened her email account, she immediately clicked on the long awaited email from Guinness World Records. It contained what she and many other City of Summerside residents have been hoping to hear. City of Summerside residents are now the Guinness World Records Title Holder for the largest display of chalk pavement art, organized by Wyatt Heritage Properties Inc.
The Guinness website reads, “The largest display of chalk pavement art consists of 423 drawings that were created by the citizens of Summerside in an attempt organized by Wyatt Heritage Properties Inc, in Summerside, Prince Edward Island, Canada on July 11th, 2016.” Summerside has beaten the record of 356 drawings held by the City of Gresham, Oregon, United States. http://www.guinnessworldrecords.com/world-records/largest-display-of-chalk-pavement-art
His Worship, Bill Martin – Mayor of the City of Summerside says “Summerside residents should be proud of what they have accomplishment. Citizens of all ages committed to the development of this art project and there was a real sense of togetherness.” Mayor Martin says he is not sure how long the community of Summerside will get to hold the title as municipalities and individuals from around the world are always trying to break Guinness records. “But for right now, we are basking in the glory.”
Wyatt Heritage Properties Inc created the idea for the chalk pavement exhibit as part of its Arts in Motion Chautauqua Festival, which celebrates the arts in the City of Summerside. For some time, Ellis believed a sizable exhibit would prove an excellent community art project to be incorporated into the long running festival. During the planning stage her curiosity led her to search out if there was a record for the longest chalk pavement exhibit, and sure enough, the record was determined by Guinness. She immediately applied to Guinness to try to break the record.
The rules were extensive and strict. The exhibit had to be thematic, each piece of art had to measure 1.5 square meters, could not touch each other, be completely filled (no line drawings) and be able to be viewed as one complete exhibit. Once permission was granted from Guinness to attempt to break the record the planning began, and it became a true community project. Holland College, the Harbourfront Theatre and Eptek partnered by offering their parking lot as the exhibit site.
City of Summerside staff were extensively involved including Sandra Zarvie who became an organizer. Tony Gallant and Jan Cameron for the City of Summerside as well as Jamie Clow from WSP Summerside, designed a template for the squares, thus permitting them to be exact when transferred unto the pavement. A floral theme was chosen and Summerside artists drew over three hundred sketches that would give inspiration to community members drawing within the squares on Monday, July 11th .
His Worship Bill Martin Mayor of the City of Summerside and Councillor Tyler DesRoches as well as Noel Lyons and Sarah Grace Schurman volunteered as judges. Paul MacWilliams, Jim Rankin and Jean MacKay volunteered as time keepers. Carolyn McKillop signed on as the official photographer.
Site preparation began on the Sunday July 10th. The parking lot was hand sweep by volunteers to free it of sand and gravel. Matt MacEachern and Tim Gallant , two City of Summerside summer engineering interns, using the template with the help of volunteers laid out the squares. Then the rain came and washed the lines away, but under sunny skies it was all redone on Monday morning and community members began to create the exhibit. It was an amazing sight to see over 300 individuals, of all ages, throughout the day down on their hands and knees, under the hot sun creating the floral designs. Besides individual community members, and tourists, some of the groups to participate were the Boys and Girls Club, Generation XX, Community Connections, Parent Power, and Centre Belle Alliance.
Video evidence throughout the day was recorded. The Judges verified the size of the works, and the time keepers kept track of the time. A photo of each piece of art work containing a measurement was taken. Evidence consisting of video documentation, photos, and judge statements were then submitted to Guinness. Then, the back and forth process began. Guinness had many questions and required more documentation. They viewed all of the video to examine each individual art piece. Finally, on Wednesday, January 25th, 2017 they declared that the citizens of Summerside broke the record.