I Madonnari coming to you, virtually, on Memorial Day weekend

The I Madonnari Italian Street Painting Festival will celebrate its 35th anniversary on May 29, 30, and 31, 2021, through an online festival experience thanks to the support of generous sponsors. Festival artists will use chalk pastels to transform their pavement canvases into elaborate and vibrant compositions in their driveways. Online festival visitors can view the daily evolution of the street paintings on the festival website at iMadonnariFestival.com, Instagram, and Facebook. Follow the hashtags: #IMadonnari, #ChildrensCreative Project, #ChalkFestivalSB, #KeepOnChalking. 

The “Chalk for Kids” event invites children to create drawings on their driveways and share their colorful work on Instagram using the hashtag #KeepOnChalking. Through the sponsorship of Village Properties, free chalk will be distributed on Saturday, May 29, between 9 a.m.- 1 p.m. at the drive-through parking lot at the corner of State and Micheltorena streets. 

Veteran I Madonnari artists Sharyn Chan, Ann Hefferman, and Jay Schwartz will team up again to create this year’s featured work for the virtual festival. They will recreate a section of Miguel Covarrubias’s Map of Mexico from Puerto Vallarta to the edge of the Yucatan Peninsula. The street painting in chalk pastel will be 40’ x 20’.

Covarrubias was a Mexican painter, illustrator, anthropologist, historian, and world traveler. He was part of the Harlem Renaissance movement (1910-1930s), considered to be a golden age of African American culture expressed in literature, art, theater, and music. Covarrubias died in 1957. This map is part of the collections of the Museo de Arte Popular in Mexico City.

Chan, Hefferman, and Schwartz collaborated last year on a 48’x12’ depiction of Thomas Hart Benton’s Achelous and Hercules. The street painting image is featured on this year’s I Madonnari Festival poster. 

Festival lovers can enjoy a hint of I Madonnari at home with a poster, set of note cards, coloring book, or beautiful tote bag sold on the festival’s shop. In addition, a new festival t-shirt and 2021 poster will be available. Each item features images from street paintings, and the funds raised support the Children’s Creative Project (CCP).

CCP is a nonprofit arts education organization administered by the Santa Barbara County Education Office (SBCEO). CCP serves approximately 50,000 students in more than 100 public schools in Santa Barbara and San Luis Obispo counties. Its mission is to inspire and engage all students in the creative process through unique visual and performing arts education and cultural experiences. CCP collaborates with school districts, professional artists, and art organizations to ensure that the arts are included in every child’s education, in every school, every grade, every day.

During the pandemic, activities have been offered through virtual platforms. In pre-pandemic times, CCP provided the following: 

  • Visual and performing arts workshops conducted by resident artists during school hours for more than 33,500 elementary students at 74 school sites.  
  • Presented 400 performances by multicultural touring companies for 44,400 children at 86 school sites. 
    A $200 arts credit for each public school to help offset performance fees.
  • A free performance by the Kingdom Choir from England, co-presented with Santa Barbara Bowl Outreach, dazzled 2,500 elementary and secondary students. 

The festival committee would like to acknowledge its generous festival sponsors including the City of Santa Barbara, Loreto Plaza Shopping Center, Yardi, Daniel & Mandy Hochman, Mosher Foundation, Santa Barbara County Education Office, and Village Properties Realtors (partial list).

To donate and learn more about the festival’s history, go to iMadonnariFestival.com.


Featured Street Painting Photo:  Patrick Shourds

2020 Featured Street Painting, 42x12 feet by:  Sharyn Chan, Ann Hefferman, and Jay Schwartz.  Assisted by Emily Hefferman. Reproduction:  Thomas Hart Benton, “Achelous and Hercules,” 1947