After attending one of the biggest chalk festivals in the country while on vacation with her family in Sarasota, Florida, Amanda Lipstein wished aloud on the airplane home that she could do something like that in the Hudson Valley. It so happened that she was sitting near Rod Tryon
, a professional chalk artist, who overheard and replied, “Let’s do it!” With his connections to the chalk artist community, and in partnership with Theresa Fall from Water Street Market in New Paltz, Lipstein planned the first Hudson Valley Chalk Festival from her college dorm in South Carolina. A biennial event, the fourth festival will take place this year on July 22-24.
There will be twenty-two professional chalk artists setting up space on New Paltz sidewalks, plus local artists who might be trying out a new medium, and an open chalking area for collaborations by the public. A free workshop on Thursday, July 21st, will be taught by professional street painter Michael Las Casas, where participants will have a chance to try chalking in a small square. For 10-year-old Juneau Beauport, the experience of learning from artists in the 2014 Chalk Festival was transformative. This year, he’ll be marking his own space as the youngest chalk artist exhibiting in the festival.
The Hudson Valley Chalk Festival is a great family event. Aside from watching the chalk paintings come to life on the village streets, there will be free face painting and live music on Saturday and Sunday. An illusionist will work the crowd, and the Renegades mascot will be there. Two cars that have been painted with chalkboard paint will be around for festival-goers to mark. Plus, Water Street Market itself, with its food and drink, shopping, and ice cream, is a bit of a festival waiting to happen.
The Fourth Biennial Hudson Valley Chalk Festival at Water Street Market in New Paltz: July 22-24, 2016, 9a til dusk, all ages, free! Free artist workshop on Thursday, July 21st, 10a-6p, all ages, no sign up necessary. Live music on Saturday and Sunday, 12-6p. Check their Facebook page for weather updates.