2017 Italian Street Painting Marin

100+ Madonnari will create sidewalk symphonies with colorful chalk, in San Rafael.

THE SUMMER OF LOVE... had many amazing elements swirling through it, but you could always count on art, and colorfulness, and imagination, and sunshine to play a role in most every experience that fabled 1967 moment offered. (Yes, even if the sunshine was not literal but, rather, a state of mind.) Those are several of the elements that will be present in San Rafael on Saturday, June 24 and Sunday, June 25 when the 2017 Italian Street Painting Marin returns to spread some proverbial sunshine around the first weekend of summertime. Over 100 Madonnari, or those artists who craftily turn chalk and cement into fabulous portraits and landscapes and tromp l'oeil eye-teasers, will take a seat, or kneel, around 5th and A Streets in downtown San Rafael. After the first chalk stroke, the pictures will come together over the weekend, with the final wonders fully and completely on view by the close of day on June 25. But so much of the joy of a chalk festival is watching the beginning, too, and how the artist's vision is planned out.

TICKETS ARE TEN DOLLARS... for "The Summer of Love: An Art and Music Experience," while children ages 12 and under may enter for free. And speaking of kids, they may want to visit the Flower Children's Avenue where, for ten dollars, they can create a 2' by 2' work of art on the ground (and keep a box of the kind of pastels the pros employ). Other special happenings, like silent auctions at nearby galleries, a raffle, and a cameo from Snoopy, up the whole sunshiny factor of the weekend. It's one of California's quintessential chalk parties, a look-down-tacular that is well-suited to strollersby. And stoppersby, too, for once you meet an artist you adore, and find a work you can't quite leave, you must linger and enjoy it. For like all street painting happenings, there is a real here-today-gone-in-a-few-days quality to it all. So get out and savor as it happens; just don't forget to don your love beads.

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