On the pavement outside the Reading Muhlenberg Career and Technology Center, Jameson Trumbauer, 5, scrawled a chalky masterpiece.
His parents, Fel and Evan Trumbauer of Exeter Township, gave his handiwork — a shining sun — their stamp of approval.
“It’s good to get outside and let them (the kids) be creative,” Fel Trumbauer said.
Trumbauer was one of hundreds of kids who got to leave their mark in chalk Saturday afternoon outside the center as part of the third annual Berks Street Art Festival.
The event in Muhlenberg Township was sponsored by the Camel Project, a nonprofit that aims to change the culture the promotes bullying.
Smiling as he sketched, Trumabuer, 5, was entirely preoccupied with having fun.
He had no idea his scribbled sunshine happened to represent the same warmth that event organizers aimed to spread via the festival’s theme of kindness and creativity.
The venue gave eventgoers ample opportunity to express those themes.
Attendees were encouraged to chalk a picture or two on the pavements and on a specially prepared truck, which was covered in drawings by midday.
Several artists showcased their creations at stalls. Among them was Candace Guthier of Reading, who makes prints and small sculptures out of clay.
Guthier had a personal connection to the theme of the event: She said she started creating art as a way of processing her experiences of domestic violence.
She said she uses art to build something positive out of her experiences and feelings.
Nowadays, she said she’s mostly inspired by her kids, Briseis, 11, and Jovincio, 9.
“Family is my inspiration,” Guthier said.
At a face-painting stand, Monica Mingucha and about a dozen other Reading-Muhlenberg cosmetology students gave kids the makeover of their dreams.
Mingucha, a junior at Reading High School, said she was enjoying herself Saturday.
“I like to make people happy with how they look,” Mingucha said.
Activities and interactive art demonstrations were plentiful at the event, offering children the chance to make art out of balloons, play musical instruments and pet animals.
The event also featured performances from musician Dave Kline, the Pretzel City Chorus, Genesius Theater, magician Jose Joel Delgado, and the Muhlenberg High School ROTC Drill Team.
Strolling performances included Hip Hop Dancing by Richie and Autumn, Reading Police K-9, and Disney Cosplayers Care.
Pamela Gockley, executive director of the Camel Project, said her organization takes a somewhat unorthodox approach to stopping bullying.
“We mainly work with adults,” Gockley said, “Everyone always says, ‘We’ve got to change the kids.’ No. We need the adults who are supporting it (the bullying) to stop that behavior.”
She said her organization also aims to address toxic workplace behaviors. Gockley said 83 million U.S. workers are affected by bullying.
“It takes a lot to change a culture,” she said. “We want to break that cycle.”
She said adults often perpetuate bullying behaviors by passing them down to children by example.
“It takes a while for adults to buy into that they may be part of the violence in our youth,” Gockley said.
The event is roughly estimated to raise about $20,000 and had a turnout of 600, according to Gockley.
Customers Bank, Highmark Wholecare, and Republic Services were major event sponsors.
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