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Denver Neighborhood Bans Chalk Art on Sidewalks
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Denver Neighborhood Bans Chalk Art on Sidewalks

A Denver neighborhood association, called Innovations and Courtyard Traditions at Stapleton, has banned children from drawing on sidewalks, saying anything that offends, disturbs or interferes with the peaceful enjoyment is not allowed on shared spaces.

The group’s attorney told the station that the association is going down a path of “do no harm” and is temporarily banning the chalk art until it is discussed in depth at a later meeting. It will then be up to the residents to decide if the art will be permanently banned.

A local 3 year old girl continues to draw chalk art on the sidewalk “as sort of a mini protest,” reports her mother.

One has to wonder about the First Amendment freedom of speech implications to such an action. One also has to wonder what kind of people would want to stop kids from drawing on sidewalks in chalk. A good friend of mine used to say that if the Greeks had foreseen homeowner’s associations, they would have never invented democracy.


  • Interesting that some people think graffiti on public (or community) property, whether cute or offensive, is a constitutional right—the same people would have apoplexy if someone picked up an arrowhead along a wilderness stream. Who owns the stream and who owns the sidewalk, and who really owns anything? We may be short of cash in America, but we are certainly not short of hypocrisy. Public rights do not exist here today, the concept is merely a ploy to pacify the people and keep them in line. The Constitution has become a joke in the 21st century, when the biggest violator is the government itself, and any reference to our individual “Constitutional Rights” is just hyperbole. Personally, I’d let the kids draw their pictures and I’d also let them pick up arrowheads and learn about the wonderful heritage of all Americans. Where is the harm in either, and why is there a distinction?

  • Well, from a legal perspective, one implicates a constitutional right and the other does not. Unless the arrowhead is on the family’s property, of course! In which case they are free to pick them up. :)

    (Hi Wayne!)


  • Let’s catch up with some of those neighborhood kids in about 10-15 years– at the prison, where they’ll be serving sentences for vandalism and graffiti.

    • Exactly. But is that what we have become? There is no scale of justice anymore. What should pass as childishness or adult lack of purpose becomes a criminal offense and society demands retribution far beyond the measure of reason. The prosecutors grovel in it and pad their stats, the judges are overrun with it and just can’t cope. Where is the justice and what has happened to society? I see an antiquities dealer facing more than several years in prison for declaring an antiquity as a “wooden box” so it wouldn’t be stolen enroute from a legal export country. I also have a neighbor who shot his wife dead playing Russian Roulette and received less prison time. Where is the justice that this country was founded on and that the “Constitution” supposedly ensures? What we have instead sounds more like the Coliseum in Rome where the crowd cries for the blood of innocents and revels in it.

  • @Lotus – She has an evil gleam in her eye, I can see it.

    @Wayne – Are you saying the neighbor should receive more time, the trafficker less, or both? Links would be helpful! :) I know you are simply being poetic, but it is hard to respond without more concrete details because it is an abstract and broad statement of opinion. Perhaps you are just expressing and need no response. (In which case I’d still like the links because I’m curious about the cases!)

    • Yes my comment was rhetorical, though factual. The point was not about the cases themselves, it was about relevance—as Anne Jensen points out. If that point was elusive, forgive me for going philosophical.

  • Good heavens, there are a number of people who need to get a life. Chalk washes off, unlike spray painted graffiti, so no damage is done and nothing is removed. It’s a little different than walking off with something that belongs to the landowner(s), be it projectile points or Belgian block sidewalks.

    Creating chalk drawings on the sidewalk does not turn children into vandals or career criminals. What utter nonsense! Most people who grew up where there were sidewalks have done that, and they aren’t all in jail for vandalism. Unscientific sample of 2 (myself & my husband, but we’re what’s handy): both drew on sidewalks with chalk multiple times, both have PhDs & good jobs. I’ve never been in a correctional facility that wasn’t a historic site. My husband has; he was the brig officer. He ran the place.

  • Denver neighborhood bans children from drawing chalk art on sidewalk! Really?

    >>>This is a public copy of an email sent to all the people listed on the Innovations and Courtyard Traditions at Stapleton website. It is very easy to look up. http://www.wonderlandhomes.com/stay-in-the-loop<<&lt;

    This bizarre behavior must STOP in this country. It is the lawyers that continue to do this sort of total nonsense. It’s the destruction of common sense and basic human decency. If there was really was an issue with the 3 year old and the chalk, someone could have simply knocked on the parent’s door and politely and nicely explained that there is a little issue. It could have saved this community all the embarrassment and negative backlash that has gone viral worldwide. It is the retile lawyers who make money creating public relations disaster with such petty and frivolous nonsense like this. Thanks to the lawyers “advice”, this community is now viewed as a bunch of crazy lunatics. They hired the lawyer and are responsible for the actions and the public consequences. The lawyer made a ridiculous statement to the media that drew all this unwanted attention. We all know the lawyer’s statement is complete B.S. They make stuff up as they go. Big legal words that nobody understands what they are talking about. How very dumb can a lawyer be to do this? Lawyers make lots of money off this sort of stuff and harm so many people in communities around the country. Think out it, the lawyer will send a bill to the HOA and they will have to write a check to him for doing this. Happens all the time. It’s the sole source of the insane HOA nutty stories you read all the time.

    So here we are with all the public backlash. How very dumb can a lawyer be. Attack a 3 year old baby? Oh, big man. Pick on someone your own age, like a 10 year old or something closer to your IQ. What a jerk. The public needs to speak out. The lawyers are out of control. This is a perfect example of their greed and insanity. If the child still draws with chalk out of protest, will the lawyer send a security guard to the home and physically touch the child and have the baby arrested for a criminal offensive? How far will this go….?

    Email sent June 22, 2012 to Jeff, Sean, David — heien@wonderlandhomes.com, sorensen@wonderlandhomes.com, mcaleavey@wonderlandhomes.com, andrews@wonderlandhomes.com, info@wonderlandhomes.com

    RE: Denver neighborhood bans children from drawing chalk art on sidewalk

    Guys! No no no

    You all must be a bunch of very strange people to have the time and energy to go after a 3 year old baby. Really?! How strange will it be to be known for something like this next time you stand in line for groceries, go out to dinner, or been seen at a local social function with your spouse on the weekend? People staring at you when you are in public…. How very awkward. Notice how the invitations from your friends don't come around anymore. The phone won't ring like it used to. Odd excuses why they canceled lunch. They can't be seen with you in public. Your wife's and girlfriends are furious with you all.

    Did you think about being a local outcast before doing something so idiotic? Complete insanity. You all need to be told what you have done is wrong.

    Bad choice. Really a dumb move. You actually hired and will now have to pay your lawyer money for this sort of advice to get this negative media publicity and backlash? When the invoice comes from your lawyer for this brilliant legal "advice", how fast will that bill be paid? This negative attention has gone viral all over the world. Now you are all laughing stock. It is really bad.

    How many new homes deals will tank over the sidewalk chalk? LAWYERS DO NOT THINK LIKE NORMAL PEOPLE. Their minds are like reptiles, they are not actually human. Lawyers lay eggs when they reproduce, so they don't know what it is like to have children. The next time you all see your attorney, thank him or her for being publicly humiliated and how new home sales have plummeted.


    - Sincerely,
    From the People of Planet Earth that have not lost their minds.

    What you do to fix it is:

    1. Fire the lawyer who gave this dumb advice.
    2. Don't pay his bill
    3. Make a public apology to make this go away.

    Trust us.

    The HOA is actually Wonderland Homes. It is the actual builder who did this. They are trying to sell homes. Imagine working there and trying explain this to a family thinking of moving in! OMG This one will be classic.

    Corporate Office
    8601 Turnpike Drive, Suite 106
Westminster, CO 80031
P: 303.604.0004
F: 303.604.9803
E: info@wonderlandhomes.com
    Stapleton Sales
    3280 N. Spruce Street
Denver, CO 80238
E: Jeffrey Heien, heien@wonderlandhomes.com
Tom Sorensen, sorensen@wonderlandhomes.com
    3289 N. Spruce Street
Denver, CO 80238
P: 303.355.3117
E: Sean McAleavey, mcaleavey@wonderlandhomes.com
    (The Edge)
    3452 Central Park Blvd.
Denver, CO 80238
E:David Andrews, andrews@wonderlandhomes.com

  • @wayne — Never apologize for philosphical! :)

  • @rob I authorized your comment to post because I find it amusing, not because I “lay eggs like a reptile.”

    • Kim,
      You obviously get the sarcastic humor. No offense to you personally. But, this HOA militia mentality has spiraled out of control. It is all about “billable hours” from these low level lawyers that are exploiting HOA boards around the country. They are giving the 1% of real honest worthy attorneys the bad PR rap. You live the lawyer jokes every day. Exploitation of people that don’t know any better is just criminal. State Ethics Boards should disbar this incompetent scumbag. He will get a few hundred bucks out of this and it will eventually die down. He actually spoke to the media! How dumb can any person be publicly defending doing something do stupid to mother and her little baby girl scribbling outside on the sidewalk. Next the attorney will see an opportunity to launch another attack when the kid’s friends have a play-date for hide and go seek. The lawyer will again claim these non-existent complaining neighbors again are offended by this liitle child.

      A good lawyer would have told the builder to just take the parent to lunch and explain that they are trying to sell out their remaining housing inventory. Could the kid just cool it for a while. That all it would have taken if there really were any actual complaints.
      Instead, we have a total worldwide internet PR distaster and the poor sales agents on the front lines try to make a living in a depressed market will lose big sales commissions. That is really idiotic to harm do many families and careers.