I Madonnari 2015: An Italian Street Painting Festival

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You might be surprised to learn that the I Madonnari Italian Street Painting Festival doesn’t actually involve any paint. Despite it’s name, the event actually describes a group of artists who use pastel chalk to decorate the plaza around the Santa Barbara Mission with hundreds of works of hand painted art!


I Madonnari 2015

I Madonnari will feature about 150 large-scale works of art created by highly skilled professional and amateur artists 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 29th anniversary of the event which will run from May 23rd through the 25th and will be open 10am to 6pm daily. One of the best parts about the festival is that it’s s free to attend and open to the public!


Food and Refreshments

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.


Origins of I Madonnari

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.


Support the Arts in Santa Barbara Schools!

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.



I Madonnari Italian Street Painting Festival

Dates: May 23rd, 24th and 25th

Time: 10am-6pm daily

Where: The Santa Barbara Mission, Laguna and Los Olivos Streets

Admission: Free



Spanish Garden Inn

Santa Barbara’s finest luxury boutique hotel, located downtown. 915 Garden Street, Santa Barbara, CA 93101. 805-564-4700.