Street Painting Festival honors pandemic heroes while raising funds for Roane State scholarships

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Best of Show winning chalk art by The Yaun Ladies. (Photo courtesy Roane State Community College)

By Bob Fowler, Roane State staff writer

Crisp, clear weather greeted a fall tradition in Oak Ridge’s historic Jackson Square on Saturday, October 17, with artists of all ages creating colorful chalk art on the sidewalk.

By mid-morning during the Rotary Club of Oak Ridge’s annual Street Painting Festival, many of the participant’s creations were taking form, and each artist’s hands were covered with a chalk patina.

Launched in 2000, the festival is facilitated by the Rotary Club of Oak Ridge to support scholarships for Roane State Community College students through the nonprofit Roane State Foundation. Both participants and onlookers followed pandemic guidelines, wearing masks and practicing social distancing.

“We are so fortunate to continue our partnership between Roane State Community College, The Rotary Club of Oak Ridge, and the Jackson Square Merchants Association to present the annual Street Painting Festival,” said Rotarian Jim Dodson, the event’s creative director.

“To borrow a phrase from Teresa Duncan with Roane State, we have a true team coming together to support this effort,” Dodson said. “This year’s theme was ‘HeART for Heroes,’ which pays tribute to all our essential frontline workers who selflessly give of themselves during these trying times.”

“With so many events being canceled this year due to COVID, it was nice to be able to carry on this annual tradition,” said Teresa Duncan, the college’s vice president of workforce and community development.

Powell resident Sonia Summers won “Best of Show” last year during the Rotary Club of Oak Ridge’s annual Street Painting Festival. Her artistic endeavor this year, paying tribute to the heroes of the COVID-19 pandemic, earned her the People’s Choice award. (Photo courtesy Roane State Community College)
Completed People’s Choice Award winning art by Sonia Summers. (Photo courtesy Roane State Community College)

Duncan thanked Dodson, an Oak Ridge City Council member and member and past president of the Rotary Club of Oak Ridge Sunset; Nikki Adkisson, project lead for the Noon Rotary Club of Oak Ridge; Roane State’s Sandy Vann and the Roane State Foundation for their partnership.

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“So much happens behind the scenes to organize events like this, and even more planning went into this year’s event due to COVID, but it was all worth it to have some sense of normal, even with the changes we made for safety purposes,” Duncan said.

There were eight categories of competition, ranging from three groups of school artists, to adults, to families. Cash prizes for each category were $75 for first place, $25 for second place, and $15 for a third-place finish. A $300 prize was given for “Best in Show,” and $200 was awarded for the “People’s Choice” award.

This year’s winners included:

  • Elementary: Rachael West, first; The Hatton Brothers, second; and Abby Knot, third place
  • Middle School: Amber West, first; Morgan Campbell, second; and Nikol Bukovska, third place
  • High School: Toby Hickman, first; Haven Scott, second; and Claire Thornton, third place
  • Adult: Sonia Summers, first; Sarah Shorter, second; and Sara Wieland, third place
  • Family: The Yaun Ladies, first; Andrew and Jessie Ward, second; and Life Reins, third place
  • HeART for Heroes Award: Haven Scott
  • People’s Choice Award: Sonia Summers
  • Best of Show: The Yaun Ladies

Roane State is a two-year college providing transfer programs, career-preparation programs, and continuing education. Founded in 1971, the college has locations in Roane, Campbell, Cumberland, Fentress, Knox, Loudon, Morgan, and Scott counties as well as a branch campus in Oak Ridge. For more information, visit or call (865) 882-4554.

Remember, eligible adults can now attend Roane State tuition-free with the new Reconnect grant. Learn more at

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HeART for Heores Award winning chalk art by Haven Scott. (Photo courtesy Roane State Community College)

The Roane State Foundation is a separate 501(c)(3) corporation governed by an independent Board of Directors and established to provide financial support for Roane State students and programs. The Foundation seeks to enhance community awareness of the college, to secure private contributions and bequests, and to manage monies or properties given to the Foundation. Contributions to Roane State Foundation are tax deductible to the extent allowed by law. For more information or to make a gift to support Roane State students, visit, email [email protected] or call (865) 882-4507.

The family team of Stella Scott and Lexie Scott are pictured as they work on their artistic creation during the Rotary Club of Oak Ridge’s Street Painting Festival. (Photo courtesy Roane State Community College)

More information will be added as it becomes available.

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