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Chalk It Up to Art

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Chalk Fest, Art in the Public EyeArt in the Public Eye (APE) is bringing a new tradition to the streets of downtown Glens Falls. Chalk Fest, a sidewalk art extravaganza, will take place on August 19, 2010 from 5pm to 8pm. Marketing Director Jennifer Kraft says that for each of the past five years, APE has had a very informal “sidewalk chalk celebration” that has encouraged a few artists to come out and draw. This year, they decided to formalize the event as an annual Chalk Fest, in the hopes that it will grow to include more artists and encompass a larger area each year.

This year’s Chalk Fest will be part of August’s Third Thursday Art Walk and will take place next to City Park, near the Lapham Gallery and the LARAC building. Twenty artists will be participating, all vying for prizes in the youth and adult categories. Entries will be judged by a yet to be announced panel of local artists. Winners will be announced at that night’s outdoor cinema showing of The Wizard of Oz on the corner of Bay and Glen Streets.

The event will also feature music by Rich Ortiz and signature corner pieces by three local artists—Zack Zoll, Emily Thomson and Jim Denne.

Emily Thomson’s work may be familiar to some—she painted a chair for this summer’s “Have a Seat in Glens Falls” program. Thomson’s chair, entitled “Wild” features a goose and a fox, among other animals, and can be seen on Glen Street. Of the chair’s theme she says, “Besides loving nature, I love animals, and therefore enjoy incorporating them into my work.” Thomson, who received her B.A. in Studio Art from SUNY Oneonta in 2008, says she’s “been creating art her whole life.” She works mostly in oils and says, “my subject matter right now is my family, pets and self-portraits.”  Thomson continues to expand her artistic palette with classes at SUNY ACC and experimenting with new techniques like plein-air painting.

Jim Denne is also a painter whose work draws heavily on nature. His numerous paintings of hills, trees and streams often capture the vibrant colors of Adirondack fall foliage while some draw on the subtler colors of the rest of the year.

Though he’ll be drawing on August 19th, Zack Zoll is a local photographer who specializes in portraits. Zoll began his career as a photographer at the age of six with his father’s gift of a Nikon camera. “When it came time to pick a career, the art sector was an obvious choice,” says Zoll. “I never stood a chance, really. I went to school and got a degree in Studio Art, and currently hold a New York State teaching certificate in the visual arts. But I never put down my camera.”

Rich Ortiz will perform for the entire three-hour event. His unique solo act (in which he plays acoustic guitar, harmonica and peddle bass and sings) refuses to be classified. He’s opened for

artists such as Ludacris, Hoobastank, Tea Leaf Green and the Drifters and counts James Taylor, The Beatles, Stevie Wonder and Willie Nelson among his influences. His 2006 debut album, “Let it Be Life,” is listed as Funk/Blues and features live, unedited studio recordings of all original works. Rich keeps his act fresh for new and veteran audience members saying “I feel I have to change every gig around in order to grow as a musician.”

The event is free, as is the movie screening that follows. For more information, visit

–Sarah Cramer is an Assistant Editor of The Free George.

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