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I Madonnari street painting festival celebrates 35th anniversary with massive mural

I Madonnari Festival
Blake DeVine / NC3
A team of chalk artists has been working all weekend to complete the I Madonnari Italian Street Painting Festival’s featured street painting.

SANTA BARBARA, Calif. — The I Madonnari Italian Street Painting Festival is celebrating its 35th anniversary this weekend.

For the second straight year, the festival is hosting a virtual version of its annual event due to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Artists are encouraged to draw on their driveways and share images on social media.

The festival typically takes place in front of the Old Mission in Santa Barbara, a public place where artists of all ages travel to town and create chalk masterpieces.

It benefits the Children’s Creative Project, a nonprofit arts education organization administered by the Santa Barbara County Education Office. CCP serves approximately 50,000 students in more than 100 public schools in Santa Barbara and San Luis Obispo counties.

Kathy Koury is the executive director of the Children's Creative Project and founded Santa Barbara's I Madonnari street painting festival.

“I just love that everyone is participating,” she said. “The artists have adapted to their own driveway or they find a friend’s driveway to work in.”

This year's artwork featured street painting that recreates a section of Miguel Covarrubias's map of Mexico from Puerto Vallarta to the edge of the Yucatan Peninsula entitled México y Sus Riquezas Naturales, or Mexico and its Natural Riches.  

Stretching 40 feet wide and 20 feet tall, this massive mural is largest drawing ever done in festival history.

A team of talented artists has been working around eight to ten hours every day this weekend at a private location. 

“For me, it’s all about the process,” local chalk artist Jay Schwartz said. The product is great and it’s great to have little pictures for Instagram but ultimately, it’s all about being out here with my friends making art.” 

The festival’s featured street painting will be finished Monday night.

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Blake DeVine

Blake DeVine is a multimedia journalist at NewsChannel 3-12. To learn more about Blake, click here.

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