Rain or Shine



After a whole year of planning, everything is finally falling into place for Little Italy’s Madonnari Arts Festival…that is, everything but the weather.

“The weather may be an issue,” says Cyd Wolf, the festival’s executive producer. “We’re asking everyone to put positive, sunny thoughts out there.”

2While rain can put a damper on any outdoor festival, the Madonnari Arts is a special case: The event is built around elaborate street drawings, made entirely of chalk.  And while Wolf is certainly hoping for sunny skies, she acknowledges that the weather-related uncertainty is as old as the art form itself.

“It’s a constant battle between the artists and the elements,” she says. “This is nothing new to them.”

Among these 50 artists are Japanese artist ToMo, Italy’s Flavio Coppola and a host of local creators. All will converge on Little Italy’s South High and Stiles Streets to participate in the 16th century art.  And though many adhere to the traditions of the genre, Wolf expressed her excitement about the mix of old-style and contemporary approaches—an excitement shared by the entire community.

3“Every neighborhood has its feuds, and Little Italy has quite a history of disagreements and factions,” she says. “It’s been a really beautiful experience to find this commonality—when [the residents] talk about art, they’re so much in synch. The only difference is that some prefer classic art and some prefer contemporary stuff. It’s been such an interesting window into the minds of the people.”

In addition to the art itself, the three-day festival will feature Italian food, wine and music, including free nightly concerts at Wolf’s Cabaret at Germano’s. An outdoor commedia dell’arte from The Baltimore School for the Arts, “roving opera singers,” and a Children’s Chalk Center add to the international fun.

The Madonnari Arts Festival will take place from Sept. 30-Oct.2 from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. on the streets of Little Italy. For more information, click here.

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