ALBANY — The chalk images created Saturday on the 100 block of Pine Avenue by a dozen professional chalk artists have not yet faded from view, but planning already is under way for the third annual AMA ChalkFest set for Saturday, Oct 3, 2020.
“We were hoping to build on the success of our first ChalkFest in 2018, and we did,” said AMA ChalkFest Chair Mallory Black. “We attracted 3,000 guests for the first event, and this year’s attendance topped 4,000 — a 33% increase.
“We are thankful for all the professional artists, sponsors, our partners, craft breweries and distributors, musical performers, vendors, food truck operators, and especially all of the people who came out to have a great time and support this important fundraiser for the Albany Museum of Art.”
Funds generated by AMA ChalkFest support exhibitions and educational programming at the Albany Museum of Art. They also help the museum maintain its free admission, eradicating any financial barrier that would prevent someone from experiencing art exhibitions they otherwise might not have the opportunity to view.
“This also is a terrific way to bring the museum out to the community,” Black said. “Art is vibrant and alive, and that’s never more apparent than when you’re watching it be created right before your eyes.”
Andrew Wulf, the new executive director of the Albany Museum of Art, said he was impressed by work that went on behind the scenes at the festival and by the enthusiastic community support it received.
“It is a true joy for the museum to bring its programming to downtown Albany,” Wulf said. “This one-day museum without walls is a wonderful reminder that art is for everyone.”
Wulf also served as the judge for the chalk art contests, which were conducted in professional, community and school categories. The professional Best of Show winner was awarded a $100 cash prize. Artists this year were asked to create pieces that evoked the festival’s theme: Pop Art & Pop Tops.
The winner in the professional chalk artist category was the team of Jennifer Richardson and Joel Norris, of Golden House Studio in Murfreesboro, Tenn. Wulf described their piece as a “very meta riff” on Roy Lichtenstein’s “Drowning Girl.” This was their first time participating in ChalkFest.
The community artist winner was Anna Wilschetz, humanities teacher at Deerfield-Windsor School, for her pop-inspired portrait of Albany founder Nelson Tift. Wilschetz also won the community artist award at last year’s inaugural ChalkFest.
In the student category, a team of Westover High School students won for their creative homage to Andy Warhol and Roy Lichtenstein.
“It was a fantastic, successful day for the museum and the community,” Black said. “People from all segments of the community came together to enjoy terrific art, great craft beers, live music and kids’ activities. We wish it had been cooler, but there’s no way to control the weather. We’re just hoping for a more fallish feeling next year.
“The main thing is everyone had a good time, and the Albany Museum of Art again fulfilled its mission of bringing community together with art as the catalyst. It was a tremendous success.”
Without the support of sponsors, events like AMA ChalkFest would not be possible. Black said she hopes that festivalgoers noticed the community-minded businesses and organizations that supported the festival.
“We hope they’ll all be back with us in 2020,” she said.
This year’s premier sponsor was Raymond James. AMA ChalkFest sponsors were Yancey Rents; Webstaurant; WALB; The Albany Herald; Pretoria Fields Collective; the city of Albany; The Flint restaurant; Alfred N. Corriere LLC, Attorney at Law; Birdsong Peanuts; Tri-State Florist Supply; Vision Source; F&W Forestry; Georgia Community Bank; The James M. Barnett Jr. Foundation; MetroPower; Phoebe; Renasant Bank; Renasant Financial Services; Callaway Blue Springwater; Relative Media & Marketing; Flint River Entertainment Complex; AB&T; Albany ENT; AAA Concrete; Fleming & Riles Insurance; Flint Community Bank; Georgia Electric Associates; JLA; LRA Constructors; LGB Consulting, and Hughey & Neuman.