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COVID-19

Coronavirus Crisis Pushes South Coast's 3-Decade-Old Street Painting Festival Online

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The coronavirus crisis has pushed one of the South Coast's most unique art events online. 

Santa Barbara's I Madonnari Italian Street Painting Festival usually brings hundreds of artists and tens of thousands of spectators to the Mission during Memorial Day weekend. 

It also raises more than $80,000 per year for arts and culture programs in Central and South Coast schools.

Organizers say they will do the entire event online this year, with artists asked to photograph and share their works through the festival's website and social media.

The situation is a financial blow for the Santa Barbara County's Children's Creative Project. 

The project's Executive Director, Kathy Koury, says the organization makes money from sponsorships of the chalk drawings at the mission, plus from food and t-shirt sales.  She says they are hoping to make a least a third of what they would normally get from what's become their biggest annual fundraiser.

The nonprofit, which is operated through the Santa Barbara County Education Office, offers arts programs in schools, ranging from performances to hands-on workshops.