Chalk art brings smiles to Saugus neighborhood

Vanessa Ferrero-Betancourt. left, and Ava BetanCourt,11, display the chalk drawings they created on their driveway in Saugus on Friday, May 01, 2020. Dan Watson/The Signal
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Every day, you can find Vanessa Ferrero-Betancourt and her 11-year-old daughter Ava Betancourt on the driveway of their Saugus home for hours at a time. 

They’re covering it with chalk art, hoping to give their neighbors some smiles in the midst of the current health crisis.

“When we would go on walks to walk my dog, I’d see people do chalk art, and it made me feel like we can get through all this,” Ava said. “I thought maybe we can do it on our driveway, so when people walk by our house they can feel good.” 

Still, things started slowly for the Betancourts, as they had no chalks, nor could they find any at the store.

“There was someone up the street from us that was giving away bundles, so we grabbed two sets of those, and whatever color they had, that was what we started with,” Vanessa added. 

Vanessa Ferrero-Betancourt. left, and Ava Betancourt,11, work on their chalk drawings from Alice in Wonderland on their driveway in Saugus on Friday, May 01, 2020. Dan Watson/The Signal

They were only planning to draw a couple things, but once they started, they couldn’t stop.

“We started liking drawing everything, and we just went crazy,” Ava said, laughing. 

They primarily stuck with a Disney theme, which was Ava’s idea. 

“We liked how Disney wasn’t too easy or too hard,” Ava added. “And, we wanted (to draw) a character that everyone enjoys and that everyone knows.” 

Though they only began the task about a week and a half ago, now the Betancourts’ driveway is covered in drawings, big and small. 

A chalk drawing of Ariel from “The Little Mermaid” on the Betancourt driveway in Saugus on Friday, May 01, 2020. Dan Watson/The Signal

“We’re trying to find little pockets to put things in,” Vanessa said. “We’re out there every day, (but) we’ve got umbrellas now because it gets hot … and we’re trying to get everybody (to help out).” 

Drawing has become a family affair, as Vanessa’s husband and 25-year-old son often also join them. 

“It’s better than being inside and watching TV, (which was) what was happening,” Vanessa added. “It’s a nice pastime. The hours go by fast and you don’t even notice it.” 

Even so, the smiling faces and reactions they’ve received have been motivation to keep going. 

“We didn’t think it was gonna be this big, (but) people are really enjoying it,” Vanessa said. “We have neighbors that walk by every day, and they keep telling us they look forward to seeing what else we’ve added each day.” 

Neighborhood children stop to view the chalk drawings on the driveway of the Betancourt family in Saugus on Friday, May 01, 2020. Dan Watson/The Signal

Vanessa Ferrero-Betancourt. left, and Ava Betancourt,11, work on their chalk drawing of “Sally” from “The Nightmare Before Christmas” on their driveway in Saugus on Friday, May 01, 2020. Dan Watson/The Signal

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