Boardwalk from sidewalk: friends team up to create neighbourhood joy in Edmonton

It’s kind of a giant bored game. 

Five friends in Crestwood and Parkview got together on a big idea to get out of the house and use some chalk and a little tempera paint to transform a stretch of neighbourhood sidewalk into a Monopoly board. 

“People are really desperate to get outside,” said Marianne Murphy, one of the Group of Five. 

“They’re looking for things to safely do outside. Because they’re bored. And stuck inside for six weeks or so right now, right?”

That was Tuesday. 

The friends rolled the dice it wouldn’t rain. They were right. By Thursday evening, the team got to Boardwalk. And people in the neighbourhood got a reason to stop and say hello.

Getting out of jail

Murphy said the sidewalk art has made people happy. 

“We’ve had lots of people stopping,” she said. “We’ve all been noticing that a lot of our neighbours have stopped to talk, from a safe distance, of course. It’s sort of brought people together that way.”

The sidewalk board game helps balance out the grimness of the pandemic, she said.

“There’s been so much doom and gloom. This is sort of a happy story. I think people are sort of desperate for that right now.” 

Art for heart’s sake

Art teacher Kristie Edwardsen said Go To Jail was the trickiest square to get right. 

“When you’re painting on cement, I’ve never done that before,” said Edwardsen. “Trying to paint on cement, it’s very porous.”

Looking at a chalky footprint on the Reading Railroad, Edwardsen said she was very okay with people walking on the art.

“That’s what art’s supposed to be about,” said Edwardsen. 

“You’re supposed to be able to use it, right? You can see footprints, and that’s great. It means people love it, and that brings me joy.” 

Team has game

Edwardsen said there was no way the board game could have gotten off paper and onto concrete without friends. 

“I wanted to do this on my own,” she said. “There is no way I could have done this quality of work without these ladies. It takes a team, right?”

Right.