Chalk it Up: club creates murals through chalk

Courtesy of Duncan Dobbins | One of the chalk drawings created by Duquesne's Chalk Mural Club. The club is looking for new members, and students interested in joining can email Duncan Dobbins at

Emily Ambery | staff writer

Sept. 30, 2021

Most students walking on A-Walk look up in admiration of downtown Pittsburgh’s skyline.

But perhaps they should start to look down, and focus on the elaborate chalk artwork on the bricks and pavement below them, created by Duquesne’s Chalk Mural Club.

The murals, started popping up on A-Walk last school year. The club is sponsored by Campus Ministry, but is currently in the process of becoming an official Duquesne club. 

The club was started in 2020 by Duquesne alumni Wyatt Haversack. Haversack, who graduated with a degree in Advertising and Public Relations, said he got the idea to create chalk murals after thinking about how he could contribute to World Kindness Day.

“Initially, my vision was to assemble multiple groups of people to cover the entire campus with positive quotes and images, but scaled the idea down to just one mural at a time,” Haversack said. 

Each mural features a positive message to give Duquesne students encouragement on their way to class. 

Some rainbow-colored positive messages featured were “Take a deep breath, feel the serenity” “Be brave” and “Be kind.”

“Working with my mural team members to create our ‘Smile is the Universal Welcome’ mural was a ton of fun, with people stopping by to check out what we were doing and contributing to the mural,” Haversack said. “I love bringing people together to foster a creative and welcoming environment.”

The Smile is a Universal Welcome mural depicted a brightly colored globe without its Covid-19 mask on to reveal a big smile. Smaller murals take about a half hour to complete. Larger murals can take anywhere from one to two hours from start to finish. 

The club is just getting started and is looking for student artists to help create colorful images and kind words all throughout campus. The club’s current president is Duncan Dobbins, a graduate pharmacy student.  

Dobbins has drawn all of the murals himself this year. 

Dobbins described always having a passion for art. He explained getting his “art fix” by creating visual abstracts and concepts for members of his lab. In highschool, he drew on the chalkboards all the time so when asked to help design and draw chalk murals at Duquesne, he jumped at the opportunity.  

“When we get new members, anyone would be free to lead their own projects as long as we have approval for the location; we want it to be something where people can volunteer and help each other create cool projects on campus when they can,” Dobbins said.  “You don’t have to be an expert artist, you just have to like to color.”

Dobbins gives the club’s ideas for murals to Linda Donavan, campus minister, who gets the designs and locations approved.

Whether you consider yourself an artist or just like to color, the club offers an outlet for all to draw and enjoy weather and dry pavement while it lasts. The chalk is provided by Campus Ministry. 

“The theme to a lot of the work we have done so far has been about spreading positive messages,” Dobbins said. “Many of our projects have been with campus ministry and we just wanted to put something fun under the feet of Duquesne students.”

Although the Chalk Mural Club is just getting started, it has big plans for the future. The club is looking to expand into fundraising and making chalk murals as an inclusive event.  

“Our basic principles are to make a club where we can spread positive messages with something fun and easy like chalk,” Dobbins said. “When we become official and have more members, I hope to host some events outside at Duquesne and fundraise for good causes.”

Students interested in joining the Chalk Mural Club should email