Hudson Valley Chalk Festival draws large crowds

Above: Chalk artist Jeanie Burns works on her piece at the Hudson Valley Chalk Art Festival. All photos by Steve Brooks.

New Paltz was chalk-full of artists this weekend, as Water Street Market hosted the first ever Hudson Valley Chalk Art Festival.

Over 4,000 people gathered to gaze at some of America’s best-known chalk artists as they transformed the Water Street Market into a chalk gallery.

Thirteen professional chalk artists from around the country were showcased in 10-by-18-foot spaces at the festival, and 12 spots were reserved for local artists, according to The Poughkeepsie Journal.

Event coordinator Theresa Fall said the success and popularity of the chalk festival could lead to it becoming an annual event in the future.

“The community spirit and positive energy is excellent,” Fall told The Poughkeepsie Journal. “People are coming up and telling me that this is the busiest and most amazing event they’ve ever seen here.”

The Times Herald-Record profiled one of the artists, Jeanie Burns, who traveled to the festival from her home in West Palm Beach, Florida.

Burns, who said she is constantly trying new pieces to create, was working on a chalk replica of “Mrs. Woolfson” by Pietro Annigoni.

"Once I've spent 20 to 30 hours with them, I don't want to do them again," Burns said.

One of the local artists chosen to participate was 18-year-old SUNY New Paltz student Brianna Rascoe, who told The Poughkeepsie Journal that she was “ecstatic” to have been chosen for the festival.

Her chalk creation of a girl with a game controller over her eyes was a way to express her love of video games, she said.

 “It’s such an amazing opportunity,” Rascoe said. “I’ve never done anything like this and it’s an honor to be working with these incredible artists.”

To find other artists who worked on the festival, or for more information about the festival, check out their website.

 This artist works on a chalk drawing at the New Paltz Chalk Art Festival.