BETHLEHEM — The second annual Chalk the Walk event will happen on Saturday, Sept. 21, hoping to marry a community event with visual art, fundraising and family-friendly entertainment.
To take place from 3 to 6 p.m., it will be on the Albany County Rail Trail, near Stewart’s on 309 Delaware Ave. People can buy a 3-by-3-foot chalk square which they can design as they choose as part of a chalk art contest where the community can vote on which are the winning three designs – winners will be awarded special prizes in the end.
Registration is $10 in advance and can be done online at www.mohawkhudson.org/chalk-the-walk-tickets; it is $15 on the day itself.
The event will be accompanied by food vendors including Market Pops, Field Notes and Emack and Bolio’s. Live music will be provided by regional talents like Hot Tuesday, a jazzy-upbeat band; Malvina, a local high school student and guitarist; and Capital Harmony, an a cappella group consisting of regional high school students.
There will be an artist fair where people can peruse through local artists’ works including paintings, handmade quilts, flower arrangements and jewelry.
Chalk the Walk is an effort by Art on the Rail Trail (ART), a committee under the Mohawk Hudson Land Conservancy. It aims to raise funds to maintain the artistic murals throughout the Rail Trail and its co-organizer, Karen Shaw said, “We want to raise awareness and get people onto the Rail Trail and also bring in local businesses. The Rail Trail is not just a linear pathway for exercise but a place for gathering and a community.”
Shaw, who is also Bethlehem’s open space coordinator, added that the entire Rail Trail will not be closed for this event and it would instead take place on just one side of the trail so other people can continue walking or cycling without interruption.
Caroline Barrett, an ART member, said, “We wanted to have something fun and involve the community. What we do is for and part of the community, and we want to bring people out and make art together.”
She added that last year, 60 people registered to make chalk art, meaning that 60 chalk squares were purchased. It raised around $600.
Both Shaw and Barrett said there is not really a set goal amount of money this year’s event hopes to raise as they believe the main purpose is to bring people in to join the fun.
While the former recalled that some of the memorable designed chalk squares last year had positive messages about nature and Bethlehem being a great town, the latter said she particularly loved one that had a portrait of famous Mexican painter Frida Kahlo, one that featured a loving father-daughter relationship, and one that showed a gay pride flag.
Although it was Shaw’s idea to have a town chalk art contest in 2017 which came to fruition in 2018, Barrett said she and her husband, also an ART member, were originally inspired by numerous murals they came across when visiting colleges in Philadelphia with their daughter a few years prior. Her husband, Barrett said, then envisioned having murals throughout Bethlehem which eventually led to the creation of ART, in partnership with the Mohawk Hudson Land Conservancy.
Barrett expressed appreciation for how Chalk the Walk can attract all ages. She said, though, that ART is still looking for volunteers to help set Chalk the Walk up and anyone interested can email at [email protected]
“While last year was more quiet and sweet, we’re hoping this year will be more festive with the live music, art and food vendors,” Shaw concluded. “Last year, we took just one month to prepare for it because it was casual but we realized we could make it bigger this year. So, we’ve been working on this since February this year. It just really exercises the really beautiful nexus of our local businesses, families, friends and the Rail Trail.”