ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – An Albuquerque homeowners association is putting its foot down on kids’ chalk art saying it needs to be washed off. Some in the neighborhood want the HOA to change its mind. Driving through a southeast Albuquerque neighborhood, you’ll find children’s chalk art sprinkled throughout. “We have hearts and butterflies and bees, ‘be happy,'” Jay Carroll showed the chalk work he found on the wall along his home. He found it to be a pleasant surprise.
“I think it’s beautiful. We have this neighborhood that’s covered in cinderblock walls, up and down all of the streets. And cinderblock walls are associated with prisons and places you don’t want to be…I thought what a great way to liven up the neighborhood,” Carroll said.
A not so pleasant surprise was the notice he received from the Volterra Homeowners Association a few days later. It said the chalk work violated HOA restrictions and needed to be washed off within 14 days.
“Living in a community association, such as Volterra Homeowners Association offers many advantages, but at the same time imposes certain restrictions. These restrictions are not meant as an inconvenience or an invasion of your freedom, but rather as a means of promoting harmony within Volterra Homeowners Association,” the notice said.
“Disbelief. I thought is there something offensive written on the wall or something like that. But these are, we can’t really get much further from political messages than these. You know, ‘be nice to kids’, ‘be happy,'” Carroll said. “I certainly understand the HOA’s point that we don’t want people spray painting the walls but you know chalk art from children easily washes off. I think it’s a net positive.”
Carroll said he reached back out to the HOA and was then told that the side of the wall was the HOA’s property, which he would be responsible for maintaining. Carroll is unsure how many of his neighbors received similar notices but said he plans on keeping the art up until day 13. He expressed concern this dispute is sending to kids and has a message for the kids behind the art.
“I think it’s part of a pattern in our society telling kids what, where and how you can play…I think it’s important that we fight for our kids to be creative and innovate because our future depends on them solving problems in innovative ways,” Carroll said. “I would say to the kids, don’t get discouraged. Chalk art is temporary. You sent your message and go send some more messages. We can clean off and start over just like a new sheet of paper.”
Caroll is working to get a group of neighbors together to hopefully work with the HOA to allow chalk art like this. In the meantime, he’s offering to help neighbors clean it up. KRQE News 13 reached out to the Volterra Homeowners Association about this dispute and was told ‘no comment.’