The Georgia Chalk Artist Guild traveled to Albany, Georgia on September 22nd to participate in the inaugural AMA Chalk Festival. The theme this year was “Homegrown” which was emphasized by the large contingent of GA artists. Participating members of the GA Chalk Artists Guild included Heather Cap, Jessi Queen, Zachary Herndon, Meg Mitchell, Fawne DeRosia, Chelsey Austin, Brittany Williams, Cathryn Bozone, and James Wheeler. Also in attendance was the The Florida Chalk Artist Association (FCAA) who was represented by members Beth Shistle and Leigh Alfredson.
The one day event began at 8am with the artists getting to work while the local craft brewery, Pretoria Fields, and other craft beer tents, and vendors set up. When the festival opened at 10am, festival-goers were delighted to see works of art in progress and the attendees were so excited to watch the pieces unfold while they enjoyed samples from the represented breweries.
Access to the festival was ticketed for those that weren’t participating as artists. Festival attendees with VIP access, as well as the featured artists, were treated to delicious catering throughout the day from Chef Todd White and his students from Albany Techs Culinary Arts program.
The event thrived. The street was closed to traffic, so the featured artists were able to chalk in the road. However, there was chalk happening throughout the area reserved to the festival. The organizers reached out to local schools to build interest and commitment for the event before it started. Jessi Queen visited Robert H. Harvey Elementary School the week before the festival to provide a chalk workshop and introduce the community to chalk art. During the event there many different school groups as well as local artists chalking on the sidewalks and even on the walls of the nearby buildings.
Quite a few of the artists commented on the lovely hospitality and amazing enthusiasm of the Albany community. Wonderful volunteers were on hand throughout the day to make sure the artists had water and to help the festival operate smoothly. This festival was well run and if you didn’t know it was the first time it had been hosted by the Albany Museum of Art you wouldn’t have figured it out from attending the event. It was great for the artists to have such support and it only added to the pride the artists felt in sharing their art with everyone.
The festival wound down around 5pm and the prizes for the community and professional chalk pieces were awarded. Heather Cap won first prize for the professional award. After a long day of chalking, the festival wrapped up and the artists went home, but they left impressed with the amount of effort that the organizers went to to create such a solid event.