Meet chalk mandala artist Sandy Forseth


Sandy Forseth will be creating a chalk mandala for “Art on the Edge” in Linden Hills on Saturday, July 23. Learn more about her.

Tell me a little about who Sandy is…
I am a creative force to be reckoned with, an innovative and energetic leader who thrives on creating interactive environments where children of all ages and abilities are welcome. Natural leader who collaborates and connects with teams to create and deliver playful spaces and events that are inclusive and vital to the community. I am part of two global families: Operation Smile medical missions and the Chalk family.
I grew up in the northwest suburb of New Hope in the Twin Cities. My favorite past time growing up was recycle art. My first mural was painted on the laundry room wall!

What is your career and art background?
I am a Certified Child Life Specialist, by trade. An expert at working with pediatric patients, siblings and families in the hospital setting. I have helped thousands of children learn about and cope well with surgery, new diagnosises, lab draws, procedures, etc. I utilized mindfulness with children and learned they soak it in like sponges.

How does where you are from influence your work ?
My grandparents were instrumental in imparting the importance of music, theatre, art and dance in our lives. My grandfather, Theodore Ptashne, was a professional violinist and “The House of Note” string instrument store was in my family heritage for 60 years. The business is located on Minnetonka Boulevard, owner is Jeff Anderson.

Was there a defining moment in your life when you knew you wanted to be a Chalk artist?
The moment when I was amused by the mystery of the mandala, was in Wahpeton, N.D. Unintended shapes were appearing and the last circles added to the outside edge of the mandala. The title became “Doily Dala,” because it resembled one.

Share more about the Chalk Street Artists…
The Chalk Street Artists are a global chalk family.
The Madonarri street art form started in the 16th century. These traveling artists would move through provinces or towns according to the festival calendar to join in the festivities and make a living from observers who would throw coins if they approved of the artist’s work. The origins of pavement artists were found all over the United Kingdom.
In America, you often hear, how do we preserve the art? However, impermanence is part of the story and life. Like when you attend a concert and leave with your heart full from the experience. Street chalk art is the same way, except now we have all have cell phones that preserve the memory of the art.

Explain your technique/creative process…What motivates you to create ?
I love working with my hands, tools and math. I also sew/create keepsake t-shirt quilts and pillows from the clothing of those who have passed on. The fabrics of our life tell a story! This also keeps fabric out of the landfills and reuses them.

How is your art important to community?
Now more than ever, community art is necessary as it brings UNITY (oneness), hope and joy, when so much in our life divides us . . . CommUNITY art brings us together! Furthermore, it creates a visual story in our minds/experience, that one does not easily forget.

Explain your inspiration or idea behind each Mandala?
My mind sees in patterns and shapes. From the time of the first conversation to scheduling, shapes or a theme drop into my consciousness for a specific mandala. Then I incorporate them as it seems fit.

Do you ever have creative blocks and how do you overcome them ?
Stillness and shower thoughts help with creative blocks! Some of my best thoughts are born in the shower! In 2018, when I was seeking what to be when I grew up, the shower thought was “interactive events!”

Who are some artists you admire, follow, or have been inspiration ?
I admire Shawn McCann and his vast ability to create from illustrating children’s books to massive murals globally. He created an opportunity for me based on my extensive experience with children and families and it was a perfect fit. Amazing what natural creativity, grief and a lot of bravery can create together! Thumbs up!
Lisa Gidlow Moriarity, owner of Paths of Peace in Stillwater. She is a labyrinth creator worldwide. That was where I first learned about a pivot and the magic/mystery of a creation. We were creating a labyrinth on a sheet, for me to bring to an Operation Smile mission. Each creation has “a story” that shows up during the process. In this case, there were symmetrical pieces that resembled clefts – like cleft lip and palate, the very mission I was headed to. This has happened time and time again with mandalas, as well.
Day Schildkret, author of “Morning Altars, A 7 - Step Practice to Nourish Your Spirit through Nature, Art, & Ritual” and “Hello, Goodbye - 75 Rituals for Times of Loss, Celebration, and Change” by Reginald Charles Adams, artist out of Dallas, Texas. It combines sound healing and yoga at beach mandala and labyrinth installations called “FLOW.” On my bucket list!


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