On Memorial Day weekend, Suddenly Seven (a/k/a my daughter) and I had a magical experience at the I Madonnari Festival. This colorful festival is held at the Mission in Santa Barbara every Memorial Day weekend. By the way, for the record, Suddenly Seven loves nothing more than a good festival!
Madonnari or madonna street painters trace their origins to 16th and 17th century Italy when intinerant painters would travel from town to town rendering the Madonna on sidewalks and in public areas. The practice remains alive with festivals in Europe and was introduced 27 years ago to Santa Barbara.
This year the I Madonnari festival features 150 squares ranging in size from 4 x 6 feet to 12 x 12 feet. Anyone can sponsor a street painting square to advertise business or to celebrate a friend or family member.
The Silver Lining is that festival proceeds benefit the Children’s Creative Project which is a non-profit arts education program that sponsors fine arts programs in the county schools for some 60,000 children in more than 100 schools throughout Santa Barbara and San Luis Obispo counties.
It is seriously hard work!
After we walked through the festival, we played in the gorgeous rose gardens across the street. It was a magical day!