Save The Date072815EVENT SUMMARY.  This 4-day cultural event will showcase elaborate chalk paintings created by artists directly on the streets of Little Italy. The event will be enhanced with Italian food, wine, music, theater and dance 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.

Flavio MedusaEVENT PROGRAM.  Artists will create chalk paintings on Little Italy’s South High Street for three of the event days (October 2-4). The street will come alive as it is transformed into fine works of art. The theme of the art is “The World is Round: Renaissance in Little Italy.”

Professional and student artists will become i madonnari for the celebration. Little Italy proudly hosts three Madonnari from Italy, Flavio Coppola, Francesca Arsi and Matteo Appignani and Baltimore’s own Maestro Madonnaro, Michael Kirby.  Anthony Cappetto, known for combining 4d technology with 2d and 3d art, will also be featured among the exciting roster of participating visual artists. The street art will be judged by a selection of local media and entertainment celebrities and professional artists.

Local, national and international performing artists will participate in a series of indoor and outdoor events sponsored by the Little Italy restaurants.   On the weekend afternoons, Laura Norris, founder and instructor of Mando for Kids, will lead her young Baltimore City musicians as they play Italian and contemporary music using the old style bow back mandolin.  An Italian dance troupe, VIGINTI MILLYS from Lascari, Sicily will perform outdoors as part of the festivities.    The Baltimore School for the Arts Senior Acting Ensemble, under the direction of Theater Head, Donald Hicken, and Sally Boyett, Artistic Director of the Annapolis Shakespeare Company, will perform scenes from Carlo Goldoni’s “A Servant of Two Masters,”  staged in several of the Little Italy restaurants.  A comprehensive schedule of events will be published on this website and posted in the Little Italy restaurants.

Also on the weekends from 11:30 a.m. until 3 pm, the PNC Children’s Chalk Center, a familySidewalk Art Festival 1 Madonnari arts area, will be staffed by art students on the Da Mimmo parking lot between Albemarle and South High Streets along Stiles Street and free chalk will be provided to young artists who will be able to draw on the street within the confines of the parking lot.  Trinity Street will be the location for children’s street theater and face painting. Children are also welcomed on the bocce court on Stiles Street, where bocce lessons will be provided.

Festival events on Columbus Day, Sunday, October 4 include  The 125th Columbus Day Parade, preceded by a wreath laying ceremony by civic groups at the base of the Christopher Columbus statue in the Columbus Piazza and  followed  by a bocce tournament and a live rooftop concert in a tribute to The Beatles 1969 concert on the roof of Apple Records provided by Baltimore’s “Fab Five”, The Apple Scruffs.

All of the foregoing events are free and open to the public.

12d90fd81ce930bf3eeff87c19427f63Other musical events will include a Thursday, October 1 kickoff sponsored by the Associated Italian American Charities at the Cabaret at Germano’s in Little Italy featuring Italian American tenor Aaron Caruso. Ticket proceeds will benefit the funding of the Columbus Day Parade and Madonnari Arts Festival. On October 2, the Cabaret at Germano’s will feature guitarist Flavio Sala and The Kings of Crownsville will rock the Cabaret on October 3 with original songs and New Orleans jazz and rhythm and blues standards.

The Festival is made possible by the generous assistance of the members of the Associated Italian American Charities of Maryland.  The Festival is part of Free Fall Baltimore, made possible by the Baltimore Office of Promotion & The Arts, an independent 501(c)3 non-profit organization, and the generous contributions of BGE, The Abell Foundation, National Endowment for the Arts, American Trading & Production Corporation (Atapco), The Henry and Ruth Blaustein Rosenberg Foundation, and the Joseph and Harvey Meyerhoff Charitable Funds. Major sponsors include the Little Italy restaurants and other local businesses, PNC Bank, Folonari Wines, Columbus Celebrations, Inc., the Baltimore LED Art Billboard, the Promotion Center for Little Italy, Baltimore and the Baltimore School for the Arts. The Little Italy Baltimore Madonnari Arts Festival 2015 is an official participant in the Turn the Towns Teal 2015 campaign to promote awareness of ovarian cancer and its subtle symptoms.

OUR MISSION.  The mission of the festival is to showcase the exceptional talent, camaraderie and creative spirit of Baltimore.  The heritage of the neighborhood of Little Italy will be celebrated and artists with new ideas will be welcomed in this forward thinking creative community with its enduring traditions.

Thursday, October 1 – Sunday, October 4, 2015
October 1 (6 – 9:30 pm)
October 2 (4 – 10 pm)
October 3 & 4 (11 am – 10 pm)


Germano Fabiani, Founder and Chair, Little Italy Baltimore Madonnari Arts Festival 2015               Cyd Wolf, Executive Producer, Little Italy Baltimore Madonnari Arts Festival 2015                          Alex French, Curator, Little Italy Baltimore Madonnari Arts Festival 2015                                         Ally Hunter-Harris, Assistant Curator, Little Italy Baltimore Madonnari Arts Festival 2015

All submissions and inquiries regarding the Little Italy Baltimore Madonnari Arts Festival 2015 should be directed to

All inquiries regarding the Columbus Day Parade and Commemoration should be directed to


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