Annual event takes on extra meaning this year

DANSVILLE — The Chalk Walk Festival took on a new meaning this year as it went Dansville Strong to help heal the community.

The famous summer festival has always brought people down to chalk art on the sidewalks, but this time it brought many more people closer together in the wake of a fatal car accident that claimed four young lives.

On Aug. 3 the downtown sidewalks were filled with adults, teens, and children chalking how they felt with creative art. There were five juried artists this year — Zoe Veaunt, Cheyenne DeMarco, Derek Crocker, Rebecca Crocker, and Cindy Provenzano.

Some of the community chalk artists came to chalk their feelings over the tragic loss, and others came to be creative. The meaning of the festival this year was the same, Dansville Strong.

Veaunt said she wanted to do a Victorian style chalk art but decided to do a coy fish instead.

“I wanted to make something Victorian, but when I saw a picture of a coy fish it moved me. I decided I wanted to do it,” she said. “This is my third year doing the Chalk Walk and I enjoy it every time.

“I have a huge fear of water. I always loved the coy fish. The orange and white of the coy fish is what I look for in ponds,” Veaunt added.

DeMarco has been doing the chalk festivals in Perry but decided to come down to Dansville.

“I started doing this chalk art in Perry. I was going to do a portrait, but my model kept bailing on me. I am now doing Feast of Cakes. I did Woman With Wings from Greek Mythology last year in Perry,” she said. “I was going to do a 1920s retro portrait if my model would’ve stayed. I decided to go with the cakes. Classic white is my favorite. The prime colors on the cakes compliment each other.”

Derek Crocker worked on a Game of Thrones character straight from the book.

“I am working on Brienne of Tarth from Game of Thrones and how she would’ve looked in the book description. I loved the book and show equally,” he said. “I think the chalk walk does a good job with kids and music. It seems a lot bigger this year for some reason.”

Rebecca Crocker worked on a Dansville Strong piece for the community.

“I am doing an otter and four ducklings. The ducklings represent the four teens who died in the car accident. The otter is the community waving goodbye,” she said. “I decided to do this chalk art last night. I love doing the chalk festival. We do it here every year.” Cindy Provenzano, of Lockport, came down to do this for the first time in Dansville.

“It is my first time here and I really love it. I do this for the love of it. I did an historic one for Canalside,” she said. “I am a huge Harry Potter fan. I really really love it, so this is a big passion of mine. This is a cute little town. They do it down here for the love of art. We have all had a fantastic day down here. It is awesome.”

Salome Farraro, Chalk Walk Festival creator, said they had a great festival this year.

“I just like seeing everyone downtown. We have a beautiful historic downtown. We have this festival in the middle of the summer, and it happens to be on a gorgeous day. People have been coming down all day to participate, or shop at our local stores for anything they need,” she said. “People are coming from all over to experience our Main Street. We need that. We have a lot of support this year, so we were able to get five juried artists. That really means a lot to expand this, and have them be able to experience this quality of art. We have all ages participating in our juried art.”

Jon and Linda Shay sponsored the workshops in Dansville ArtWorks. There was one on clay art and one on wool spinning. Storyteller Cris Riedel plans on having another program at Little Lakes Community Center in Hemlock in October.

Whitnie Hill has long hair goats now for her wool spinning. She has llamas, alpacas, and sheep to use for fabric. Hill does most of the farming herself, since it has always been her passion. She just got a new spinning wheel in hopes of being able to teach others the craft.

Dansville ArtWorks held the Picture the Future event in partnership with The Foundation for Dansville Education. This annual fundraiser goes to support both non-profit organizations.

Battle Street Brewery came to support the event with different beer options available. There were three door prizes, tickets to the Dansville Balloon Festival, Battle Street Brewery gift card, and tickets to Corning Museum of Glass. The six big prizes of the night were a $100 gift basket with two Wall of Pride tickets, a $100 gift certificate to Dansville ArtWorks, $100, $250, $500, and $1,000.

All of the winners of the prizes are local and wish to remain private.