Blessed be the Houston chalk artists big and small.

Every evening since our area's "stay home, work Safe" order, as the sun dips down over the city in its pinky orange splendor as if everything is still perfectly normal, I’ve taken to the streets of my Montrose neighborhood to run. Last week, on a stretch of Hawthorne, a gaggle of neighbors sat at the edge of their lawns in their camping chairs to share an evening of conversation and drinks, albeit a good 20 feet apart from each another. I ran right down the middle of the street, and they cheered on either side of me as if I was right smack in the middle of the Houston Marathon—nice effort! keep it up! I couldn’t help but chuckle and tell them thanks. It was human interaction in all its weird, touching, gracious glory during this ongoing disaster.

We’re all figuring things out. We’re all dealing with grief and stress and shock. But it’s during disasters such as this that Houstonians really know how to step up—case in point: Harvey—and care for their neighbors, even if this time around that means getting creative.

These are a few of uplifting, artful things folks around Houston are doing to improve their neighbors' morale. In the days ahead, let's all take a cue from these folks, and spread kindness, not COVID.

This Timbergrove Manor house has a social distance dummy.

You can practice social distancing with “Germaine Covid.” Say hi from your car, or just send along all your doggos to pose at his feet. The owner of the house created the hilarious tableau to make people smile—they already had Germaine on hand thanks to a previous prank involving a mannequin. 

 
 
 
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Bear hunt at Mom’s house.

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Houston neighborhoods are having teddy bear hunts for kids.

Last week my mom placed some of my old Care Bears in the front window of her Oak Forest home for families driving and walking around in search of teddy bears. As just one way that communities are trying to help keep kids and their parents sane by safely getting out of the house for a few moments, "bears hunts" are booming from New Zealand to New Jersey and right here in Houston, from GOOF to Bellaire, with the idea plucked from 1989 children’s book We’re Going on a Bear Hunt.

Westbury has a socially-distanced flash mob of child cellists and violinists.

Students in the magnet music program at Parker Elementary have been playing their instruments in their yards or parked in cars in front of their schoolmate’s homes, since mid-March, gathering a weekly audience in Westbury. On Monday mornings, strings teacher Lisa Vosdoganes livestreams the song the students will play, and folks in other states are apparently joining in for her Monday lessons too.

 
 
 
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A reminder 💖 #seenonmyrun #runhouvirtual

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Image: Dianna Wray

Chalk art reigns everywhere.

From League City to the Heights, budding chalk artists are giving inspiration to neighbors in the most colorful way, with helpful reminders like the one our own Dianna Wray found on her morning jog through Garden Oaks—don’t worry, be happy.

We’re trying!

And Montrose offers one very important safety tip...

 

 
 
 
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#washyadamnhands

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What have you seen in your area?  Hit the comments or send us a tip at [email protected], so we can feature all the do-gooders out there.

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