Carleton invites the public to go ‘Back to the Blackboard: A Weitz Center Chalk Slam’


Carleton College and the Northfield community will come together to bring old blackboards to life in a colorful and creative event on Saturday, Oct. 20 from 1 to 4 p.m. in the Weitz Center for Creativity. The “Chalk Slam” includes live music and refreshments and is free and open to the public.

Humble blackboards, an essential feature of classrooms past, will come alive as students, professors, mathematicians, Minnesota artists, and community organizations draw, doodle, and calculate—creating temporary compositions that honor decades of learning by blackboard at the site of the former Northfield Middle School.

“We are inviting people to use chalk to celebrate learning—past, present and future—through drawing, writing and figuring, “ explains Laurel Bradley, curator and director of the Carleton College Perlman Teaching Museum. After filling the slates with everything from artistic compositions and temporary murals—to gestural markers, elaborate mathematic forumulae, conceptual diagrams and more—the public is invited to circulate through the Weitz Center for Creativity to admire and enjoy these drawings-in-the-making on blackboards salvaged from the original Northfield Middle School. From 3 to 4 p.m., the finished drawings will anchor a building-wide celebration of pedagogical mark-making throughout Northfield history.


Carleton staff have already recruited professors, teachers, student groups and community partners to “adopt a blackboard” for the Chalk Slam. Walk-ins are also welcome and several boards will be reserved for spontaneous efforts from those in attendance. All supplies are provided. “Use your imagination! We invite the community to join in, observe, and celebrate new life on old blackboards,” encourages Bradley.


This event is presented by the Perlman Teaching Museum and co-sponsored by the Center for Community and Civic Engagement (CCCE) and the Humanities Center. For more information, including disability accommodations, contact Laurel Bradley at (507) 222-4342 or by email at Learn more about the Perlman Teaching Museum at


The Weitz Center for Creativity is located at 301 East Third Street in Northfield. Enter at Third and College Streets.