Community Stories

Chalk it up to a neighbourly gesture

April 29, 2020

Haley Abrahamsz didn’t go outside that day a couple of weeks ago with the intention of lifting the spirits of complete strangers. But that’s exactly what she did.

“It was just really nice out and I was getting agitated being inside so much. So I just went outside and decided to draw a picture on the sidewalk.”

ChalkDrawing and sketching is nothing new for the 17-year-old Notre Dame High School student. She’s been practicing for years.

“Ever since I could, basically,” she says. “Most of it was just training myself, I’ve gone to maybe one art class, and I took art at school.”

Usually pencil or charcoal on paper is Haley’s medium of choice, so using chalk on cement took some getting used to. She plopped down on the sidewalk in front of her family’s home and set out to work on her two specialties – a horse and a dinosaur.

“People kept stopping by my front yard and looking at them,” says the grade 11 student. “My teacher came by and she was like ‘oh my goodness, that’s so good!’”

As word of Haley’s talent began to spread, photos were shared on social media and even made it into the Red Deer Advocate. That’s where an Edmonton woman saw the pictures and reached out to the teenager with a special request.

“She just told me that her grandparents lived in Red Deer and they weren’t doing very well with COVID-19. They were having a difficult time,” says Haley. “She saw my pictures and asked if I could draw something for them.”

After learning the woman’s Grandfather used to show and work with horses, and her Grandmother loved gardening, Haley had an idea. She packed up her chalk, went to the couple’s home and got to work. Three hours later, it was finished. A brown and white horse for him and a flower for her.

“She said that she teared up when she saw it. She was very happy,” says Haley. “It feels really good.”

As for more sidewalk masterpieces in the future, Haley says she’s getting requests, but is going to take some time to let her fingers recover first.

“They’re so raw and purple at the moment,” she laughs. “I’m happy that I can use my art skills to make other people happy."