I Madonnari Street Painting Festival back in person for 36th year
The 36th annual I Madonnari Street Painting Festival began Saturday, once again an in-person event for the first time since 2019 after two years of virtual viewing due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The festival will continue through Monday, and is open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
The event takes place in front of the Santa Barbara Mission where paintings are created live with chalk pastels. This is the first festival of its kind in North America, presenting the performance art of street painting. This event is produced by and raises funds for the Children’s Creative Project, a nonprofit arts education program of the Santa Barbara County Education Office.
“It’s going great, I am here now and it is packed and there are lots of vibrant colors and it is going well. On average we usually see about 8,000 attendees every day. People are really excited to be back in person. Lots of families are here … The sun is out now. It feels like a kick-off to summer,” Kai Tepper, executive director of the Children’s Creative Project (CCP), told the News Press on Saturday.
“We provide critical access to arts education for PK through 12th grade public schools throughout Santa Barbara County, as well as in San Luis Obispo and Ventura. We especially focus on support for schools and students who wouldn’t otherwise be able to afford access to quality arts education or arts opportunities,” said Ms. Tepper.
“Our featured artist Dawn Morrison Wagner is doing a beautiful image of the Madonna with five figures in it. There are some vibrant, beautiful nature works by Dos Pueblos students. Some Santa Barbara High School VADA (Visual Arts and Design Academy) students are doing a tribute piece to Kathy Koury, founder and former director of CCP who retired in August after 44 years of service in honor of her retirement,” Ms. Tepper told the News-Press.
New local vendors at the festival include United States of Espresso, Dave’s Dogs and Rascal’s Vegan Pop-Up. Old favorites of the festival were also on hand, including lemon-rosemary roasted chicken, pizza, gelato and more produced by the Children’s Creative Project board with volunteers from the National Charity League and Boys Charity League.
The Brasscals (an all-age brass band), the Santa Barbara Piano Boys and the Santa Barbara High Jazz Band performed on Saturday. On Monday, Mezcal Martini and Jackson Gillies are set to perform. All proceeds from sales benefit the Children’s Creative Project.
“The I Madonnari Festival is the annual fundraiser for CCP. It is a really important way to come back from a deficit in revenue, as a result of the pandemic. The proceeds help us be the most responsive to schools that we can,” said Ms. Tepper.
An expanded area for children to create street paintings is located at the west side of the Mission.
Throughout the three-day event, more than 600 Kids’ Squares can be purchased for $15, which includes a box of chalk.
Onsite parking will be available this year for $5 per car.
For more information, go to https://ccp.sbceo.org/i-madonnari/welcome.
To register for the festival, go to https://events.humanitix.com/the-art-of-mass-gatherings-in-santa-barbara.