Italian Street Painting Festival to Return to San Rafael

The festival's founders hope to raise $130,000 in the coming months to pay for the popular event that will take place in downtown next summer.


After a several year hiatus, the beloved Italian Street Painting Festival is returning to downtown San Rafael next year for the summer, according to the festival's co-founder Sue Carlomagno.

Now armed with some start-up funds, Carlomagno and her husband Joe, along with a new executive team, are setting out to raise $130,000 to fund the festival for June 29 and 30, 2013.

The event drew a million visitors since its inception in 1994, and was often referred to as San Rafael’s signature event. Artists crafted temporary masterpieces in chalk on the blocks near the St. Raphael church. Funds from the 2013 event will go to organizations and individuals that provide arts programs to the community, instead of Youth in Arts as in previous years.

"There's nothing comparable to the event in Marin," Carlomagno said.

The festival costs approximately $250,000 to host. All the performers and artists donate their time, except for the featured artists who receive a small stipend, and the only sources of income are sponsorship and food, beverage and product sales.

Youth in Arts canceled the festival in 2011 after facing a decrease in sponsorship dollars and donations. The staff's workload increased due to the size and scope of the event. Plus, the people attending weren’t spending.

After the Downtown Business Improvement District received the first installment of funds from a settlement with Target, the organization awarded some of the money to revive the festival. Autodesk, EveryLife Foundation for Rare Diseases and other organizations also chipped in to jump start the public fund raising.

Now renamed Italian Street Painting Marin, Carlomagno and her team are setting out to get the rest of the funds. The 2013 event will feature around 95 images, ranging in size from 8 by 8 feet to 24 by 24 feet. There will also be three major featured pieces, according to Carlomagno.

"It's the dedication of volunteers that is going to make this festival happen," she said. "We have an all volunteer staff, which is a testament that the community is thrilled to have the festival showcased again."

For sponsorship and event information Sue Carlomagno at 415.388.2834 or sue@italianstreetpaintingmarin.org.


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