Bob Guillemin could very well have spent his life in hallowed museum and gallery halls, but he preferred life on the street. For decades beginning in the 1970s, he chalked and painted on pavement, earning the nickname Sidewalk Sam. It was an effort to pry art away from its lofty perch and bring it out into the open air for everyone to see.  

Guillemin had formal artist training both in Boston and Paris, where he later worked at the Louvre.  Returning to the United States, he landed solo shows in museums here and New York galleries. But as he told WGBH in 1990, he was seduced by the street.

"In the summertime, when I'd go out onto the sidewalk, and I'd move some bubblegum and cigarette butts and all those things that people put there because people don't care enough about the ground," he said. "And I'll clean it all off, and I'll think of a beautiful bowl of flowers." 

He created fresh works and recreated masterpieces enchanting politicians and passersby. Then in the early 1990s, while performing work on his roof, he fell 30 feet to the ground. The accident left him paralyzed but did little to keep him off the streets. For Sidewalk Sam, his was an enthusiasm that could not be curbed.