The Neighborhood Chalk Lady

Rebecca LaFlure, B.A. ’08
Rebecca LaFlure, B.A. ’08

Rebecca LaFlure, B.A. ’08, didn’t have the typical Baylor experience. As an aspiring journalist, she didn’t originally see art as being a newfound passion. 

In 2007, LaFlure was in a horrific accident as a passenger in her friend’s car. As her friend swerved on the highway to avoid getting hit by a semitruck, she lost control of the vehicle and it flipped and flew into the adjacent six lanes. In the process, LaFlure’s right arm flew out the window. 

“My window was down, and my fingers were amputated in the crash,” LaFlure said. 

Doctors tried, with no luck, to reattach her thumb and one of her fingers. And from that day on, her life completely changed. 

“There was definitely a period where I was just kind of embarrassed of [the hand],” LaFlure said. “Which sounds really awful to me now. I would always wear this very realistic prosthetic everywhere I went.”

Eventually, LaFlure learned what it meant to embrace herself — including her hand. Although right-handed, she learned to adjust. She graduated and continued her pursuit of becoming a journalist, eventually moving to Illinois to get her master’s degree. 

As the pandemic hit, LaFlure sought ways to get creative with her 2-year-old daughter. Of course, finding safe activities in the midst of COVID-19 was difficult — which wasn’t the best to fend off cabin fever. 

“I was just trying to find something not stuck inside,” LaFlure said. “So, we started chalking.”

With some colorful chalk in hand she set off on a new adventure. It took a little bit of time, but soon enough, the drawings took on a life of their own — from Peanuts characters to Peppa the Pig to Disney characters, each drawing is one of a kind and a bright addition to the sidewalks of the city. Although LaFlure professionally works as a corporate investigator, on the streets of Chicago she’s known as the “Neighborhood Chalk Lady.”

“It just caught on and people just enjoyed stumbling on bright colorful chalk art,” she said. “So, I started chalk drawings all over like at bus stops, libraries and parks.”

She’s gained quite the following in the last few years. You can follow along on Instagram at @ChalkOfTheTown312. 

“People can do a lot more than they think they can, and it’s never too late to find a new passion,” LaFlure said. “A few years ago, I never thought art could just be stumbled upon, this in my mid-30s, and I can’t imagine my life without it.“