UPDATE: Due to inclement weather, both events have been postponed until Tuesday, August 8.
HIGHLAND PARK, NJ—On August 2, Highland Park will be hosting a chalk art festival at 5pm on South 3rd Street between Raritan Avenue and Magnolia Street.
The event is sponsored by the Highand Park Arts Commission in conjunction with the Adult Substance Abuse Program (ASAP), , a charitable nonprofit organization that helps addicted county inmates recover and establish behavioral change while incarcerated.
The 90-day program offers meditation, counseling, and group therapy, as well as screenings, assessment, and treatment at the Middlesex County Adult Correctional Center in partnership with Rutgers University Behavioral Healthcare.
Now in its second decade of providing service to addicted inmates, ASAP has over 800 graduates and a very favorable recidivism rate.
The chalk art festival is the brainchild of retired Judge Barnett Hoffman, ASAP's founder.
“Judge Hoffman had gone to a chalk art festival in Florida earlier this year and thought that it would be the perfect event to do in a community as involved in the arts as Highland Park is and a great fundraiser for ASAP,” stated Stacy Kaplan, communications coordinator at Highland Park Borough Hall. “It seemed like the perfect match.”
In its inaugural year, the chalk art festival will be paired with Highland Park Police Department’s National Night Out Against Crime happening on the north side of town.
Unlike New Brunswick and most of the nation, which is celebrating National Night Out on August 1, Highland Park's event will take place on August 2.
National Night Out also promotes a community-building and anti-drug and alcohol message through the power of hot dogs, popcorn, snow cones, cotton candy, and a DJ.
Those in attendance will have the chance to view emergency service vehicles and equipment and can go between festivals.
The chalk festival will feature ten artists, some professional and some amateur, including one of Highland Park’s very own Council members.
The suggested theme of the evening is “hope,” but the art created will be made at the artists’ discretion.
There will also be a section where anyone can create their own artwork, with chalk made available to all.
Members of the public can sponsor a portion of the event, and all donations go to ASAP.
“We hope the chalk art festival will become a stand-alone event in future. I think people are going to have a lot of fun with it,” said Kaplan.