This 3-day cultural event will showcase elaborate chalk paintings created by artists directly on the streets of Little Italy. This free outdoor chalk festival includes live music, street performers, participatory art, an art market and al fresco dining in a celebration of the contemporary renaissance of Baltimore’s historic Italian neighborhood.
Our model for this event originated in Italy in a tradition that dates back to the 16th century — the art of street painting. Historically, i madonnari were wandering artists in Italy who traveled village to village to earn their livelihood at various festivals and on various holy days. The artists often depicted religious images in their paintings, thus earning their name. Such a festival was first introduced in America in Santa Barbara, California in the 1980s. Today, street painters create breathtaking traditional and expressionistic compositions using the street as their canvas and chalk pastels as their medium.
Artists will create exquisite classical and contemporary 3D chalk paintings on Little Italy’s South High Street on Friday, Saturday and Sunday, September 6-8. This year, the theme of the art is “Courage.” Professional and student artists will become i madonnari for the celebration. Little Italy proudly hosts Madonnari from around the globe.