momready archives

Chalk One Up

Posted by Elisa Taub
Chalk One Up

You may think sidewalk chalk is simply for child's play, but did you know that the art of "Chalking" or Street Painting actually dates back to 16th century Italy? The street artists were known as Madonnari, because they would travel to festivals and holidays in each area, creating images of the Madonna on sidewalks and public squares, collecting small donations and commissions for their work.

Later, the subject of their chalkings was expanded to include copies of the Renaissance masters or original works, but the name Madonnari stuck to describe these street chalking artists and festivals which continue in Europe and in the US to this day.

This art form can be simply or elaborately reproduced in your own backyard. Simply purchase a bucket of sidewalk chalk and send your kids out to the nearest patch of pavement.

And like the work of Madonarri past, your child's artwork will disappear with each fresh rain or tricycle passing. But not to fret. It just means it's time for a new masterpiece.


La Strada dell'Arte
May 20-21. 2006
Napa Valley, CA

I Madonarri
May 27-29, 2006
Santa Barbara, CA

Italian Street Painting Festival
June 10-11, 2006
San Rafael, California

4th annual La Piazza dell’Arte on Larimer Square
June 17-18, 2006
Denver, Colorado

Old Town Temecula Street Painting Festival
June24-25, 2006
Temecula, California

Central Pennsylvania Festival of the Arts
July 14-18,2006
State College, Pennsylvania

La Bella Strada Arts Festival and Chalk Artfest
August 15-16, 2006
Bellingham, Washington

Cleveland Museum of Art 2006 Chalk Festival
September 16-17, 2006
Cleveland, Ohio

Riverside Art Festival
Saturday 16-17, 2006
Chicago, Illinois

Street Painting Festival
September 16-17, 2006
Massey, Ontario, Canada

Arte De Tiza
September 16-17,2006
Paso Robles, California

I Madonnari
September 17-18th, 2006
San Luis Obispo, California

La Strada dell' Arte
October 2006
Kansas City, Missouri


Sidewalk chalk is a great birthday party favor. Small buckets for a dollar or two can be found at Target and your local dollar store.