Italian Renaissance painters are well known for their elaborate cathedrals and grand sculptures, but perhaps less so for their street art. I Madonnari, named for their early depictions of the Madonna, recreated their church designs on street pavements. Often featured at festivals and on holy days, the street paintings brought art to the public and provided artists with additional income.
Established in 2012, the Hudson Valley Chalk Festival carries on the spirit of this folk art tradition. The annual event is an opportunity for professional and amateur artists to decorate the streets of New Paltz, creating brilliant works of art with a simple, playful medium. Part of the festival’s appeal is its impermanence—even the most stunning images will wash away with the next rainfall.
The festival returns this summer from Friday, July 18 to Sunday, July 20. Visitors can tour the works of 21 visiting national artists and 14 professional locals. Enjoy three-dimensional portraits that jump off the pavement or images of pools so realistic you’ll believe you can jump in. See a swimmer burst from beneath the pavement, or a sailboat suspended on a lake’s surface. Bring some chalk and show off your own skills, either on the street the festival’s designated “chalk car.” The event will include weekend-long live music by local bands, raffles, and face painting for the kids.
The festival will run all weekend from 9:30am until dusk at Water Street Market in New Paltz. (845) 774-9705.