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Mother-daughter chalk artists dazzle Fort Worth neighborhood with sidewalk drawings

Jan and Olivia Riggins usually compete in chalk art competitions, but with those on hold, they found a new place to express themselves

FORT WORTH, Texas — Nearly every night, after school work is done and the weather cools, magic starts to happen on the sidewalks of one northwest Fort Worth neighborhood. Images of beautiful animals, nature, even Star Wars characters pop up, stopping people in their tracks when they see them.

Jan Riggins and her 13-year-old daughter Olivia are the sidewalk chalk artists behind the eye-popping images. They love to partake in sidewalk art competitions whenever they can, but the pandemic has curtailed those competitions. The lack of events left them itching to draw.

"Well, I thought — I have a driveway and I’ve got a sidewalk and I’ve got the pastels," Jan said, laughing. "I could just go outside."

The ladies started with a sketch of Koi fish in the Marine Creek Ranch neighborhood, and it quickly grew from there.

"People really, really liked it in our neighborhood so we just kept going," Jan said. 

"We did an orca, she did a jellyfish. A butterfly, a couple of frogs," Jan said. There's even a Baby Yoda.

The incredibly lifelike drawings caught the neighbor's eyes and even caught the attention of Buzzfeed, which featured them in a piece about sidewalk art during the pandemic.

"Very surprised," Jan said. "I think it’s fun to do and I didn’t really think it was going to get this sort of attention."

Olivia said they're working so hard, they have calluses on their hands. "Your fingers kind of get rubbed off after a while," she said.

Now, it's a nightly ritual for families to stop by on walks and check out the latest masterpieces. They've been drawing since late March.

"Everybody seems to enjoy having something to look forward to and see," Jan said.

"Community!" said Olivia.

It's also an opportunity for mother and daughter to bond.

"Not bad that a 13-year-old still is out there doing something with her mom," Jan laughed. "I’m pretty excited."

They're sharing their love and talent for art at a time when we need it most.

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