CraftSanity Episode 97: A Chat With Grand Rapids Urban Experiment Creator Rob Bliss

by jennifer

Rob Bliss bills himself as a just a regular guy. But his ability to use Facebook to mobilize people of all ages to participate in urban experiments is nothing short of intriguing.

I met Bliss, a Grand Rapids Community College student, at the Chalk Flood he hosted in April. My daughters and I were among thousands of people who gathered downtown to doodle on the sidewalk that Saturday afternoon and we had a blast. It was a real kick to see so many people ranging from kids to professional artists coloring the city streets. And we were all there because of Rob Bliss. He invited us and secured 30,000 pieces of free chalk. He announced his plan on Facebook and then waited to see who showed up.

The Chalk Flood was his most recent urban experiment, but there have been others. He’s invited people to dress up Santa and hand out candy canes to strangers. He hosted a massive pillow fight downtown and a zombie walk, too.

Bliss was in rush to get to class when I interviewed him, but I suspect our short chat will be enough to inspire you to think about mobilizing people for a little harmless fun in your community, too. (If you’d like to share your urban experiment ideas, please leave a comment below, especially if they’re crafty or involve aprons.)

Also, Rob and I talked about ArtPrize, which is offering a $250,000 top prize.

Thanks episode 97 sponsors!
Thank you Violette Clark, author of “Journal Bliss: Creative Prompts to Unleash your Inner Eccentric” and star of CraftSanity episode 5! Remember, Violette, the creative woman who lives in the purple house in Canada and drives a painted van? Yep, Violette has a great book out and it’s loaded with Violette’s artistic inspiration, illustrations, fonts, doodles and prompts designed to help you embrace your inner eccentric.
Visit to get a copy of the book and read Violette’s blog!

And another special thanks goes out ot Kerryanne O’Reilly, the creative force behind Kerryanne’s collection includes pretty handmade items for baby, little ones and grownups created with practicality and simplicity in mind. All the items are made with unique & beautiful fabric purchased from independent sellers. *** Just an FYI, to fellow apron enthusiasts, Kerryanne makes sweet aprons for kids and adults! So there’s a little extra motivation for you to check out her shop.

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