Chalk and other media combine for festival

By Alberto Gilman
Posted 10/18/23

Artists of different mediums and styles will converge on the City of Newburgh on Saturday, October 21 for the Art On The Block and Chalk Fest.

Residents and visitors will have the opportunity to …

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Chalk and other media combine for festival


Artists of different mediums and styles will converge on the City of Newburgh on Saturday, October 21 for the Art On The Block and Chalk Fest.

Residents and visitors will have the opportunity to browse original works and use chalk to create art of their own design and expression to decorate the city streets. The event will be held in front of Newburgh Mercantile at the corner of Broadway and Grand Street.

The Art on the Block event is an urban outdoor art market featuring artists from around the Hudson Valley region. During the course of the day, artists will provide to the community live demonstrations of how their works are created. For the chalk focused work, supplies will be provided for those who visit.

This weekend celebration is being headed by Eric Jarmann of Newburgh Mercantile, who said that the Art on the Block event previously held the name of Art Along The Fence and took place on Liberty Street. With the current construction situation that Newburgh Mercantile has in front of them, the plan was to bring the festival to the front of the store. Jarmann said the city was very open to the idea of holding an event like this for the community.

“More people are starting to realize that the arts are one of many things that we need here,” he said. “So whether it be buying a piece of artwork from a local artist, you’re doing more than just owning something nice to put in your house, you’re connecting with that person, you’re also connecting with maybe their story or the story behind the artwork.”

With the Chalk Fest component of the weekend, this was made possible through Jarmann’s new partnership with fellow artist Amanda Silvagnoli, who initially began the discussion of bringing a chalk festival back to the Hudson Valley area. Jarmann first met Silvagnoli at the Art Along The Fence events.

In the area, the Hudson Valley Chalk Festival was held in New Paltz several years ago and was headed by organizer Amanda Lipstein. The chalk fest in New Paltz was where Silvagnoli had participated as an artist. For the event in Newburgh, she will host a Chalking 101 lesson at 10 a.m. for those interested.

The chalk fest event was held again in 2019, and heading into 2020 there were huge plans anticipated.

However, the pandemic came and other circumstances led to the festival not being able to be held but hopefully will see a return. “If you talk to anybody who’s been there, they still rave about it from 2016 and ‘17. It was such a well-organized and well-received event,” said Jarmann.

For Silvagnoli, she considers chalk art to be her favorite style of work. As an artist, she has held smaller chalk festivals at a previous job that donated towards Maria Fareri Children’s Hospital and the Newburgh Enlarged City School District. “New Paltz was my first experience doing any big chalk art since high school. From there, that kind of just, I kept searching for more festivals to do, I’ve just been involved in finding them and then letting friends know,” she said.

Now in 2023, she brings that appreciation and connection with chalk into her work as a full-time social worker. “For me, chalk is kind of a very soul oriented art form, like it’s impermanent, it’s going to wash away in the rain. So much of our lives, our experience as humans is impermanent,” she said.

The revival of the Hudson Valley Chalk Festival should all go well and with plans, is anticipated to make its return in 2024. Silvagnoli has been communicating with Lipstein to learn more about how the event was planned and then would look to implement those plans for a grand future event.

“The Chalk Festival would be something that would garner attention not just to the Hudson Valley, Metropolitan area, but would probably be of note to the entire Mid Atlantic Northeast Region,” said Jarmann. “These kinds of events track that kind of attendees, and participating artists will travel out of state to come to these. So we’re excited about being able to have Newburgh host an event of that kind.”

For the upcoming event, sponsors for the event included Newburgh Mercantile, Walden Savings Bank, Field Trip, Home Depot, 2 Alices Coffee, The Collektiv, Safe Harbors and Grit Works. Food vendors and children’s activities will be made available during the course of the day event. More information can be found at the Art On The Block page on Facebook as well as Instagram @artontheblock_nbny.