Guerrilla Chalking in Allston

No Place Like Allston

Allston, Massachusetts, September 1st. Perhaps the craziest day of the year in a neighborhood filled with the most transient population. Translation: Moving Day. Which means U-Hauls blocking driveways, endless piles of discarded furniture, free stuff for the taking all around, and of course a fresh, captive audience for some fun chalked messages.

Several months ago, the Urban Canvas team developed an idea that combined stealth chalking with the spirit of spreading good humor to total strangers. The premise involved going out late at night to write messages on people's doorsteps for them to find the next morning, in hopes of sending them off into the world on the right foot the next morning when they left their homes. We called it guerrilla chalking, and for sat on it for a while until we found a good night to head out and leave our mark.

Night Vision

That day was Moving Day 2010, known to some colloquially as "Allstonmas" due to the plethora of free (sometimes questionable) stuff left on the curb. We decided on this night both because of the large number of apartments around and because of the influx of new residents, to whom we could try and offer a pleasant chalky welcome to the neighborhood.

So armed with a few boxes of chalk, we set out late in the night and decorated front stoops, stairways, and sidewalks...


The first thing some lucky residents might see when they step outside in the morning.

World's shortest race.

An Urban Canvaser adds a picture to a front bannister.

Shadow outline of a tree.

Hey, if it's found on the curb on Moving Day, it's free, right?

Abstract Chalk.

A message for anyone walking by. Too Big Brother-y?

Smile!  Your shadow loves you.

That is one hungry dumpster...



Caution: arrow.

Could your neighborhood be next?