BALTIMORE (WJZ) — One of the most culturally rich festivals of the year is taking place in Baltimore.

The 5th Annual Madonnari Arts Festival will run Friday, Sept. 6, through Sunday, Sept. 8.

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The three-day free outdoor festival will showcase elaborate chalk paintings created by artists directly on the streets of Little Italy.

Festivities include live music, street performers, participatory art, an art market, a children’s chalk center and al fresco dining in celebration of the contemporary renaissance of Baltimore’s historic Italian neighborhood.

Chalk drawing — also known as Madonnari — began in Italy in the 16th Century.

At the festival, you’ll find chalk artists from Belgium, Italy and Mexico.

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More than 300 people are involved this year. Forty-two professional artists will draw their interpretations of the theme: “courage.”

Last year, Rome’s Matteo Andrea drew the Mona Lisa.

“This [year] is Martin Luther King Jr., obviously courage, courage,” Andrea said.

Four local schools are also participating. This morning, City Springs Elementary was given a lesson in perspective chalk art.

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This year, the festival is co-sponsored by the Little Italy Neighborhood Association and The Baltimore Jazz Alliance.