New Paltz to host Hudson Valley Chalk Festival this weekend

Asphalt becomes canvas at Water Street Market this weekend, as the first-ever Hudson Valley Chalk Festival makes its mark July 20 through 22. This celebration of the ephemeral artform will pit pastels against parking lot, transforming the ground beneath your feet into a feast for the eyes. Artists from near and far will illustrate for and interact with the public. Their beautiful, vibrant, impermanent large-scale artworks will develop over three days.

Some of the most successful chalk artists from around the country are flying in for the event. They include Ann Hefferman, Sharyn Namnath, Joel Yau, Jay Schwartz, Jeanie Burns, Graham Curtis, Wayne and Cheryl Renshaw, Lorelle Miller, Julio Jimenez (JJ) and Rod Tryon. Their subjects and styles run the gamut, featuring people, places, things, animals and abstractions. Three plan to work in 3-D.

Watching the designs develop in real time is a big part of the draw, said Theresa Fall, Water Street Market community event coordinator. “I don’t know how to describe it – it’s amazing, really,” said Fall. “This is what they do for a living: transform the ground into something extraordinary. They’re really nice, down-to-earth people who just love what they do. They work together in a sort of circuit, and have been working together for years.”

They’ll be joined by 11 local artists sponsored by community businesses. There will also be an “open chalking” section where everyone is welcome to participate and display their creativity; live music Friday night through Sunday evening, from local bands Yardsale, Ella Sky and the Horizons, Black Horse Riders, El Front, MAAZE, Me and My Ex, the Nerk Twins and Tanager; raffles, food and more. “This should be a fun-filled community art event – one that we hope to bring back every year,” said Fall.

The Hudson Valley Chalk Festival will be held from Friday, July 20 through Sunday, July 22 at the Water Street Market, located at 10 Main Street in New Paltz, from 10 a.m. to dusk. Admission is free, and the event will go on rain or shine. For more information, call (845) 255-1403 or visit To volunteer or contribute to the raffle, e-mail

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