If you take a stroll through Rolando, you may see stunning, colorful chalk art displayed in front of some homes and sidewalks. Not only is the artistry magnificent, but it was created for a good cause by two local sisters who turned their creativity into philanthropy.
What started as a way to keep entertained during the stay-at-home order turned into a charity project that benefits the International Rescue Committee and other causes. Fifteen-year-old Malone and 8-year-old Rory founded the Rolando Chalk Project around March and have since raised more than $2,500 from their art.
“Our neighbors started seeing (the chalk art) and we started doing it for friends and it turned into something bigger, so we thought it should be for a good cause,” Malone told NBC 7.
The duo commissions their art work in exchange for a donation toward the International Rescue Committee or for a cause of their customer’s choosing. Since beginning the project, they’ve made about 35 pieces of art with the help of their neighbors Annie, Deva, Sadie and Ella.
Many of the commissions for the project are for birthday parties. There have also been requests from local businesses, a welcome home celebration and for a cancer patient. Rory told NBC 7 her favorite request was for a drive-by gender reveal party while Malone said she really enjoyed making an art piece for the birthday of a 79-year-old man who has been indoors due to the pandemic.
Both sisters say that creating the project has taught them something invaluable.
“I think the biggest thing is that small things can truly make a difference,” Malone said. “Even though we don’t get to interact physically with our customers, we still see them smile and that puts a smile on our face.”
Rory said she agrees.
“I learned that I can make people happy by doing something that is nice,” she said. “Seeing people with a smile on their face makes me really happy during these sad times.”
Now, the sisters want others to consider making a kind gesture for others since even what may seem like the smallest act could hold a big meaning.
“To do small things around your neighborhood,” Malone said. “Even if it’s just writing a letter to your neighbor or making cookies for your grandparents. Anything can make someone smile and that makes a big difference.”
“I want some people to learn that little things can make people happy and we can make a difference,” said Rory.
The pair mostly stick to creating artwork in their community, but said they are open to discussing other locations if an individual who is not from Rolando would like a commission.
Anyone interested in requesting a chalk art masterpiece by the Rolando Chalk Project should private message the project’s Instagram account. The founders are also accepting donations for art supplies and anyone who is interested in donating can do so by sending funds to @Malone-Dougherty on Venmo.