Hudson Valley Chalk Festival returns to Water Street Market

An artist at the first annual Water Street Market Chalk Festival in 2012. (photo by Lauren Thomas)

An artist at the first annual Water Street Market Chalk Festival in 2012. (photo by Lauren Thomas)

The second annual Hudson Valley Chalk Festival is making a return to the Water Street Market in downtown New Paltz from Friday, July 12 through Sunday, July 14.

According to the event coordinator Amanda Lipstein, last year’s inaugural Chalk Festival brought approximately 4,000 people to the Water Street Market, and this year it’s expected to draw even more people to the temporary-yet-exalting display of art-in-the-making. “We have 15 professional chalk artists who are flying in from around the country,” said Lipstein, noting that with one exception, all of the artists who came last year “enjoyed the people and the energy so much here that they were excited to come back!” The one who is not returning has no love lost for New Paltz, but rather is currently hospitalized.


Similar to last year’s chalk extravaganza, there will be an open area for anyone who is so inspired to try his or her hand at creating some art. “The open area is being sponsored by Rose Art, so there will be plenty of chalk for people to use if they are moved to do so. We had some incredible art in that open area last year; in fact, one person who did some incredible work in the open area last year has been invited to participate in our local artist chalk area.”

There will be professional chalk artists, the open area and a section in the upper lot for local artists including Greg Correll, Sara Wenger and Chelsea Calnan, Carmen Doyen and Deahnara Regan, to name a few. “We have so many talented local artists, who might not be chalk artists necessarily, but who enjoy the challenge of a different medium,” she said.

New this year will be a car covered in black chalkboards for everyone to draw on and create a “Chalkmobile.” There will be free face-painting for kids, as well as a raffle that will include gift certificates to local restaurants, businesses, services, hotels, spas, artwork and more. “There’s something for everyone with the raffle prizes we’ve been so fortunate to have donated,” Lipstein said.

All proceeds and donations go straight back to the Hudson Valley Chalk Festival to help support the cost of the event, as well as the artists, whose airfare and accommodations are picked up by the festival.

The Green Palette will provide live puppet shows on Sunday at 10 a.m. and again at noon, providing even more things for children to enjoy and partake in at the festival. Like last year, there will be live music playing throughout the event on Saturday and Sunday, including Tanager, Yard Sale, Liberty Rebellion, Me and My Ex, Dave Chapman and Vito Petroccitto.

Because the festival is only in its second year, Lipstein said that organizers haven’t wanted to pen artists in with a specific theme, like many chalk festivals have. “Last year we had a number of artists from California who were excited to do pieces based on our area, like the rock-climber 3D piece, and many want to do the same this year. The great thing about chalk art is that you can talk to the artists as they’re creating the piece; sometimes they’ll even take your suggestions. It’s a real interactive type of feel that is rare and exciting.”

The artists will fly in on Thursday, mark their spaces with black tempera paint and then Friday, according to Lipstein, begin to “sketch and/or grid their area if they plan on doing a 3D piece.” By Saturday they will likely be in the midst of the piece, and by Sunday, finishing their work of chalk art for all to enjoy!

The organizers note that some of the things that make this event special are that it celebrates art, is free and open to the public and incorporates professional and local artists as well as amateurs who want to leave their own (temporary) mark.

To learn more, go to the website at or the festival’s Facebook page, where you can see many of the artists and their works from last year at