On The Town

Inaugural Madonnari Arts Festival Coming to Little Italy

Local and international artists unite for four days of cultural festivities.

By Lauren Cohen | September 28, 2015, 11:24 am

-Courtesy of Shutterstock
On The Town

Inaugural Madonnari Arts Festival Coming to Little Italy

Local and international artists unite for four days of cultural festivities.

By Lauren Cohen | September 28, 2015, 11:24 am


-Courtesy of Shutterstock


An old-school Boot Country tradition is taking over the sidewalks of Little Italy next weekend.

The inaugural Madonnari Arts Festival, October 1-4, will bring together more than 50 local and international virtuosos specializing in Madonnari—an ancient pavement-painting practice dating back to the 16th century—to transform South High Street into a walkable masterpiece.

Festival founders Germano Fabiani and Cyd Wolf, the husband-and-wife team behind restaurant and cabaret venue Germano’s Piattini, are excited to debut the event as an expansion of Little Italy’s annual Columbus Day Parade, on October 4 this year.

“The Italian-American community wanted so badly to turn the parade into a longer celebration, and we didn’t realize that they were looking for something just like this idea,” Wolf says. “The Columbus Day celebration has always been about celebrating the brave, courageous spirit of Italy, and this was a great way to further express the heritage.”

In addition to highlighting the likes of world-renowned street artists Flavio Coppola and Michael Kirby, the free arts fest will also serve as a sidewalk showcase for students from Baltimore School for the Arts (BSA) and MICA.

“The intention is to have a nice mix of professional and emerging artists coming from all over,” Wolf says. “The artists from Florence who are coming in are so excited that they’ve found people in Baltimore that speak their language—both Italian and art.”

Although the pavement pieces will be at the forefront of the event, its jam-packed lineup also highlights special vocal performances at Germano’s upstairs cabaret, a designated sidewalk chalk area for kids and aspiring Madonnari artists, outside dance showcases along Stiles Street, and rotating theatrical performances from BSA’s senior acting ensemble.

Of course, it wouldn’t be a true Little Italy bash without top-notch food and wine. Not only will a handful of the 25 participating restaurants double as performance venues for the event, but Wolf assures that many of the chefs have plans to serve specialty dishes during the festival’s run.

Wolf says that her primary goal for the event is to use creativity to unite the community, noting that the city is still recovering from the unrest surrounding the death of Freddie Gray.

“We’re really intent on turning the image of Baltimore around in the media and in the world,” she says. “We’re not politicians; we’re just small business owners who have been trying hard for decades to create something meaningful. We’re recognizing a renewed awareness of how important arts are to the community, and Baltimore does it right.”




Meet The Author
Lauren Cohen is a digital staff writer for Baltimore, where she blogs about food, events, lifestyle, and community news.

You May Also Like


Arts & Culture

Q&A with Natural Velvet

We talk to Corynne Ostermann of the post-punk outfit about their new album.

MaxSpace

Review: The Hero

Sam Elliott shines in this career-defining role.


Arts District

The Big Baltimore Playlist: June 2017

The top five local songs you should download right now.

Arts & Culture

Golden Globe

Print is not dead at the Maryland Institute College of Art.

Connect With Us

Most Read


Free Fitness Guide
From early morning boot camps to yoga classes in the park, here are the best ways to work out without spending a dime.

Take Two
Meals for two are having a moment.

Richard Chizmar Co-Authored Book with Stephen King
The Bel Air writer discusses 30 years of writing horror and suspense stories.

Dear Old Dad
Celebrate Father's Day all month long with these 12 events.

Mind Over Matter
Black Male Yoga Initiative strives to change the community through yoga.