While temporary in nature, street paintings have a long tradition. With origins stemming from sixteenth-century Italy, artists called madonnaris (stemming from Madonna) would create provisional religious portrayals in chalk, transforming thoroughfares into cobbled canvases for crowds to enjoy. The practice fell by the wayside during the tumultuous years of World War II, but saw a renaissance of sorts in 1972 when Grazie di Curtatone, Italy held a street painting festival, reviving the art form.
Fast forward to today, when artists will gather in downtown Lake Worth for the twenty-second annual Lake Worth Street Painting Festival. Held on February 20-21, hundreds of artists will take to their individual squares of pavement along Lucerne and Lake avenues, creating their own impermanent masterwork. Beginning early on Saturday morning, artists will begin their work—some in groups, others solo—painstakingly creating chalk art. As the hours tick by, the paintings begin to take shape, and by Sunday, most drawings are completed. Some artists offer reproductions of classic masterpieces, others original works of art ranging in styles, from Renaissance to cubism and pop art.
The largest event of its kind, more than 600 artists are expected to join the festivities this year, creating more than 200 street paintings. Done in plein air, more than 100,000 guests will peruse as they promenade along the streets, watching as the works come to life. The Cultural Plaza will act as the event’s hub, with concessions, local vendors, and live music performing on the main stage.
- The Lake Worth Street Painting Festival is free and opened to the public, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Free festival shuttles will run from Palm Beach State College Lake Worth Campus (northside parking lot), bringing guests to the downtown festival. For more information, visit streetpaintingfestivalinc.org.
Photos from the 2015 Lake Worth Street Painting Festival. Courtesy of streetpaintingfestivalinc.org.