Art and Kindness Met at the Madison Farmer’s Market

A whale of a statement by a very special visitor to the Center for Engagement’s display at Madison Farmer’s Market.


A young woman quietly stood and watched Stealth Art instructor Sarah Henkel and a number of Madison community members create beautiful chalk art at the Madison Farmer’s Market.  After observing for a while, she turned to Co-Founder and President, Michelle Sharpswain, and asked, “Is this allowed?”  Michelle assured the young woman she had examined the permit very closely and found no evidence that the chalk art was not permitted.  The careful observer softly replied, “In my country, this is not allowed.”  Michelle invited the young woman to grab some chalk and create a picture of her own.  Smiling from ear to ear, the woman sat down on the sidewalk and, with great care,  drew a whale.  Once the picture was complete, she sat and seemed to reflect on her work for several minutes.  A while later, the young woman returned; this time she had a clear purpose.  After proudly showing her drawing to a couple of friends, she approached Michelle and held out her hands.  In her hands was a delicate, beautiful scarf neatly folded into a small square.  This is a close approximation of what she said, “I would like to give this to you.  It is from my country.  I am from Lebanon, and  I would never be allowed to do this.  So I want to share this scarf with you in return for what you gave me today.  Thank you.”

Michelle never learned the woman’s name, but is deeply grateful to have the beautiful scarf as a reminder of the importance of both art and kindness in our lives and in our communities.