Artists around Santa Barbara took to their driveways and sidewalks this Memorial Day weekend to create chalk art and share it online as part of this year’s virtual I Madonnari Italian Street Painting Festival. The 33-year-old festival — which typically draws large crowds over Memorial Day weekend to Old Mission Santa Barbara — had initially been canceled due to COVID-19 concerns, but the family of artists and sponsors who’ve supported the fest for years asked to put it online.
At an undisclosed location this weekend, artists Sharyn Chan, Ann Hefferman, and Jay Schwartz used an assortment of bright and pastel-colored chalk to create a detailed 12’x48′ recreation of Thomas Hart Benton’s 1947 allegorical painting “Achelous and Hercules” as the headlining painting of the festival. Chalk paintings depicting graduating seniors, the earth, flowers, animals, and much more were seen throughout Santa Barbara, with photos being posted on I Madonnari’s Instagram and Facebook. The festival benefits the Children’s Creative Project, a nonprofit art education program.