Surprisingly, the I Madonnari Italian Street Painting Festival doesn’t actually involve any paint. On May 24th artists will use pastel chalk to decorate the plaza around the Santa Barbara Mission with hundreds of works of art. But don’t be fooled, this isn’t the same chalk art you made on the sidewalk when you were a kid!
I Madonnari will feature 150 large-scale works of art by highly skilled professional and amateur artists who have been specially selected for the event. Work sizes range from 4 feet by 6 feet on the small end, to 12 feet by 12 feet on the larger side. This year marks the 28th edition of the event which will run from May 24th through the 26th and will be open 10am to 6pm daily. Best of all I Madonnari is free and open to the public!
Don’t worry about working up an appetite during the show, there will be an Italian market set up right next to I Madonnari where you can enjoy Italian cuisine and do some shopping for specialty crafts and other items.
The concept for the festival is actually based on a street art tradition in Italy. Madonnari were Italian artists known for producing beautiful works of street art based on producing an image of “the Madonna” or Mary. A large celebration of these artists has taken place since 1972 in Grazie di Curtatone which serves as the inspiration for Santa Barbara’s event.
Though I Madonnari is free, individuals and businesses sponsor many of the works. Proceeds from these sponsorships go toward the Santa Barbara Children’s Creative Project, which helps provide Santa Barbara County school children with access to workshops and other resources that help promote the arts.
Dates: May 24, 25, and 26th
Time: 10am-6pm daily
Where: The Santa Barbara Mission, Laguna and Los Olivos Streets
WHERE TO STAY
Spanish Garden Inn
Santa Barbara’s finest luxury boutique hotel, located downtown. 915 Garden Street, Santa Barbara, CA 93101. 805-564-4700.