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Oak Ridge to 'Paint the Town with Chalk,' show off future downtown

Whether you're a professional artist or not, you can show off your vision for Oak Ridge's future downtown with chalk art.

OAK RIDGE, Tenn. — The "Secret City" was created without a central downtown during the Manhattan Project -- but the creators of a new event want to show off the city's future downtown. 

Oak Ridge spokesperson Lauren Gray said the city plans to turn Wilson Street, near Main Street, into an active downtown area. To show the area off, Oak Ridge is sponsoring "Paint the Town with Chalk."

People can watch on May 23 from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. as professional artists create chalk artwork. Spectators can vote for their favorites, and one artist will win a "Best in Show" prize. The drawings will show off different artists' visions for Oak Ridge's future downtown. 

The city said all spectators should take COVID-19 precautions, like wearing masks and practicing social distancing. Spectators can walk or drive by as the artists complete their drawings. 

RELATED: Vandalized Dolly Parton mural gets a makeover after artist finishes work in downtown Knoxville

There's also a way for you to get involved -- professional artist or not. In the week leading up to the event, the city is asking people to turn a section of their driveways or sidewalks into "a vision of what you would like to see in a vibrant downtown area."

"Maybe it is a farmers market, a street musician, a bakery with amazing cupcakes or a local book store," read a press release from the city. "Let your imagination run wild!"

RELATED: Watch this artist transform a driveway into a chalk masterpiece for medical heroes

The city said you can take a picture of your masterpiece and post it to the Explore Oak Ridge Facebook Page or Instagram, and tag the picture #paintthetownor. You can also email it to Explore Oak Ridge at katy@oakridgevisitor.com. 

The city will post those photos to the Paint the Town web page, and the one with the most votes will win a $100 prize for the Community Spirit Award.

All entries must be submitted by May 20, 2020 and voting will take place until 4:00 pm on May 23rd.

In Knoxville this spring, artists and families created their own mini Chalk Walks while staying home -- see the photos below!