Sarasota Chalk Festival
530 S. Orange Avenue
Sarasota FL 34236
To nurture, support and partner with the community to bringing diverse people together to celebrate, be inspired by and participate in the cultural and performing arts. 
CEO/Executive Director Ms. Denise Caryl Kowal
Board Chair Ms. Denise Caryl Kowal
Board Chair Affiliation Kowality Antique Decorative Arts, Inc.
General Info
Organization DBA
Sarasota Chalk Festival
Supported Organization Avenida de Colores, Inc.
Former Names
Tax Exempt Status Public Supported Charity
Incorporation Year 2010
Awarded competitive grant from Community Foundation in the last 5 years?
State Charitable Solicitations Permit Yes Apr 2016
State Registration Yes Nov 2015
IRS Letter of Determination
Financial Summary
Projected Revenue $2,300,000.00
Projected Expenses $2,300,000.00
Other Documents
Impact Statement
Top five accomplishments:
1.  Celebrated the 7th season as the only nonprofit international cultural arts event in Sarasota County that is entirely volunteer and remains free for all to participate in and attend. 
2.  Successfully moved the festival to Venice, Florida and garnered significant support and praise in all ways, financially, as well as personal investment from the Venice City Council members. We established partnerships with key groups that included the Venice Art Center, Venice Community Center, Venice Museum and Archives, Venice Library, Venice MainStreet, Venice Farmer's Market, Venice Chamber of Commerce, Venice Merchants and Businesses.
3.  Secured the Guinness World Record for the Largest Anamorphic Pavement Art that included 50 professional pavement artists from around the world and supported by local artists, volunteers and sponsors. The image was of a Megalodon Shark to support the 2014 theme 'Extinct and Endangered Species.'
4.  Designed the 'Thoughtful Reflection' minimalist sculpture exhibit in 2013 with an eternal flame that was guarded by the Sarasota Military Academy cadets.  Partners included the Patterson Foundation, Sarasota National Cemetery and Sarasota County Veterans Association.  
5. Successfully created a global community of pavement artists that create oversized masterpieces and 3d pavement art. Remaining the only festival in Florida that brings in 95% of the most renown artists in the world while allowing and supporting anyone, of any age to participate as well. 
Top five goals:
1.  Continue to maintain our high level of artistic diversity into our 2015 festival season with the theme 'Eat, drink and be merry.'
2.  To gain additional financial support and implement revenue sources to produce the 2015 festival in Venice, Florida.
3.  To meet and attract more volunteers
4.  To update our copy and photo equipment to produce photos at the festival for visitors, creating lasting memories
5.  To move our 4,000 square foot warehouse to Venice Island by August 2015. To open our 2nd office on Venice Island office by August 2015. 
Needs Statement

Our top 5 most pressing needs:

  1. Receive donated supplies, equipment and furniture for our office in Venice, Florida. 
  2. Sponsorship of our Venice facilities (office and warehouse) $36,000 
  3. Create an online store, $4,550
  4. Upgrade our equipment for our archives chairman who maintains our photos, videos and written archives $16,260 
Actions in process to meet financial resource needs:  
  • Enhance 2015 fund-raising efforts via: Dedicated fund-raising leadership; Extension of funding channels to include merchandising.
  • Adjusting needs based on fundraising accomplishments and review of 2014 financials to assess what "worked" and what didn't work.

 Actions in process to meet organizational resource needs:   

  • Transition from an entrepreneurial model to a more standard non-profit model that enables sustainability and repeatability
  • Implementation of Customer Relationship Management (CRM) as centralized support for all operations
  • Succession Planning
  • Documentation of standard operating procedures (SOPs)
  • Job descriptions and vetting of volunteer manager roles
Background Statement
The Chalk Festival was originally created to bring diverse people together to celebrate, be inspired by and participate in the cultural and performing arts and remain free for all. It started as a 501c6 in 2007 to also to draw tourism, commerce and attention to the Burns Square area of downtown Sarasota that rarely ever sees events.  The festival quickly grew into a national event by 2009 and the entire city of Sarasota gained exposure, tourism and commerce.
In 2010 the Avenida de Colores 501c3 nonprofit was formed and renamed the festival the Sarasota Chalk Festival.  In only its third year, the event became the first international street painting festival in the USA. A debut of the first day/night street painting by Edgar Mueller was performed. The organization was entirely volunteer with dozens of outreach programs throughout the year with area schools and organizations.
The 2011 festival became one of Sarasota's most important cultural events and the most important contemporary street painting venue in the world, attracting the most renowned artists in the field.  The organization managed over 500 participating artists brining in featured artist Kurt Wenner.  The first Augmented Reality street painting was created at the festival as well as the first outdoor opera set - a partnership with Sarasota Opera.  The event attracted 200,000 visitors without incident.  The Children's Chalk area grew to 5000 participants. 
The 2012 festival featured a debut created by world-renowned artists Kurt Wenner and performances by Nik Wallenda to celebrate the theme Circus. Dozens of partnerships enhanced the theme, including Ringling Bros., Sarasota Circus, Sailor Circus and Fuzion Dance. 
By 2013 The festival invited dozens of partners to honor veterans, inspire patriotism and embrace freedom with the Legacy of Valor theme. A 1/10th replica of the Statue of Liberty was created and graced the event. The 'Thoughtful Reflection' honored the Sarasota National Cemetery and dinner for 500 veterans followed a veteran ceremony with dignitaries.  Over 500 artists in total participated.  The festival doubled in size spanning S. Pineapple Avenue through downtown for a half mile.  The children's area welcomed all aged.
Today the festival is managed by an executive committee to complement the Board of Directors who support the success and growth of the festival.  An executive manager assists the creative director and founder by overseeing roughly 30 chairpeople and 350 volunteers.
Areas Served
Areas Served
FL- Sarasota
Service Categories
Primary Org Type Arts,Culture & Humanities
Secondary Org Type Community Improvement, Capacity Building
Tertiary Org Type
Sarasota Chalk Festival, Avenida de Colores, Street Painting, Festival, Madonnari, Circus City USA, Pavement Art Through the Ages, chalk art, pavement art, 3d, wenner, kowal, family, performance art, museum, chalk, little chalkers, burns court
Statement from the Board Chair/Board President
For six years now I have wholeheartedly volunteered my time, provided resources, and passionately encouraged artist and community engagement in the creative process because I enjoy shaping memorable experiences that change people’s lives, for the better in a way that supports Sarasota’s sense of place.

I did not start out with such an important underlying philosophy, that grew over time. In the beginning, I wanted to bring awareness to the Burns Square area, support commerce and community and do it through the cultural arts.  I had never visited a street painting festival, nor did I know of any street painters or ever see one actually chalking; but as an artist who is comfortable with challenges, the Sarasota Chalk Festival was first held, November 2007.

By the third year, the festival profoundly changed my life and what it means for me to unselfishly give myself to something that is globally bigger than any one individual.  I started to receive emails that expressed a higher spiritual meaning with the festival experience by those contributing to its success - artists, visitors, sponsors and volunteers of all demographics, sharing their stories.

The festival also started a transformation of this performance art form that dates back hundreds, even arguably thousands of years, yet only 40 years as a festival featured art form.  We were the first to connect, on a large scale in one location, artists from around the world and support them through our PR campaigns and social media. This created opportunities for many artists instead of the renowned few, that never existed before.  This created a global community of street painters. 

The festival has created and supported careers for many artists that now benefit greatly by the skills learned and connections made.  That is why we have such a high rate of loyalty from our artists who waive their artists fees in lieu of us paying their expenses.  There is no other street painting festival in the world that has this level of support by so many artists.

Our outreach programs that are held at schools, libraries, churches and other art facilities as well as other businesses has grown to several a month throughout the year.  We partner with other municipalities because the more we can share the work we do the more participation we have.

The Avenida de Colores organization now receives a couple thousand applications a year from all corners of the globe, telling us of their deep need to be a part of this important event.  Our social media has gone viral several times and we touch every country worldwide.  Sarasota has been blessed to have this quality of ephemeral art fill its streets each year while the public gladly partakes in the creative process as the viewer. 

It is hard for me to put in such a small space the magnitude of this event that is the only free international cultural arts festival of its kind in our region.  This year we are particularly proud to be honoring our Veterans, inspiring patriotism and embracing freedom with our theme.  We are a true community event that only functions if the community shows its support.  The more support, the better we can be at creating, once again, the ‘awe’ inspiring event that our visitors have come to expect.
Statement from the CEO/Executive Director
As the founder of the festival, I am asked all the time why I volunteer so much of my time, resources and energy to making the Sarasota Chalk Festival a reality for our community.  The 'reasons' have changed over time as the festival teaches me how important it is to create memorable experiences and opportunities for people to interact in a community and open setting.  
We believe creating a festival that has been voted #1 Best Festival by Sarasota Magazine and SRQ Magazine for three years in a row plays an essential role in exploring the emotional dimensions of experience, in shaping the way people talk about critical issues and in formulating visions of the future, both for artists and their audiences.  
We stay true to remaining the only international festival that is free for all to participate and attend. 
Description For two days an entire city block is dedicated to the young and young at heart to chalk impromptu mini-masterpieces for free.  Over 5000 children participated in 2011, a growth of 150% from the previous year. Everything is provided including the more expensive pastel chalks the professionals use because we have found the children appreciate the bright colors more than the pale shades of children's chalks. Professional artist, Lori Loveberry-George chairs this event for her third season and enrolls dozens of high-school students to volunteer during the weekend.
Budget $25,000
Category Arts, Culture & Humanities, General/Other Performing Arts
Program Linked to Organizational Strategy Yes
Population Served Children Only (5 - 14 years) Infants to Preschool (under age 5) Families
Short Term Success By the end of the 2012 season thousands of children will be exposed to the rich history and cultural traditions of street painting that has roots dating back before recorded time. 
Long Term Success We have children that have participated in the Children's Chalk Block year after year and many have gone on to participate in the Student Chalk Event.  Nurturing children in the art form will help grow the festival with local participation, provide skills that are tangible, encourage sense of self and confidence and embrace community and family activities.
Program Success Monitoring We will monitor the number of children and families that will participate in the 2012 festival and see if we are successful in growing participation again in year 5. 
Program Success Examples
Children and their parents provide unsolicited testimonials of their experience after every festival.  The following is one that we received from a father who brought his son to the festival:

“I brought my son to the chalk festival hoping to inspire him to draw and paint more as he is always drawing cartoon characters in his room. We spent about an hour watching the fantastic artists at work but what my son was really excited about was hearing that there was a children’s area. I want to tell you that my son learned from watching the artists work, he learned by seeing their techniques and all on his own he drew the most amazing piece of artwork I have ever seen him produce.”

“I have to say that in all of my 44 years that Saturday was one of the top 5 best days of my entire life. Seeing my son so focused on drawing without a care in the world. I want to thank you, the artists, and organizers of this event for such an eye opening experience. I made a video of my son drawing that day and would like to share it with you. I hope the link works!! By the way, he’s nine! Maybe some day he will have his own street to paint on!”

Phil Jones

An video of the experience of a father and son can be seen here:
All students who apply to participate as a chalk artist are accepted and provided everything for free, which includes a class that is taught by the professional artists on techniques, etiquette and materials.  They are provided space, supplies, materials, food, water, exposure in our collector edition publication, tickets to VIP events and a tremendous amount of support by all artists and volunteers.  Students chalk for two days to create a chalk drawing that range in size from 3' x 5' to 12' x 12'.  Some students chalk alone while others use teams of students to complete a chalk drawing.
Budget below is per student:
Budget $500
Category Arts, Culture & Humanities, General/Other Performing Arts
Program Linked to Organizational Strategy Yes
Population Served Adolescents Only (13-19 years) Minorities General/Unspecified
Short Term Success To give students a sense of place in our community and appreciation for the cultural performing arts by sparking and encouraging their curiosity and creative energy through participation. 
Long Term Success Our students will help the long-term success of the festival and provide students will a skill that can provide a living, no matter what country or place they are in the world. 
Program Success Monitoring We monitor the number of students that we reach each year and the areas of our community that they are coming from.  We now have a student chair that is a senior at Sarasota High School and an past professor from RISD who are actively meeting with individual schools to increase our reach.  We monitor how many students participate each year and their progress.
Program Success Examples
Our students provide us with numerous testimonials that we feel support our success.  The following is from one of our student who participated last year:
Dear Denise,  Thank you so much for everything that you have done for me. You helped me way more than you think. Before the Sarasota Chalk Festival, I never thought I was good enough for anything or anyone. You helped me to bring out a whole other side of myself that no one has ever seen including myself.  Although I was a little intimidated when i was the only student there with Kurt, it was a great opportunity to learn from him.  I can’t thank you enough and I definitely would love to do it again next year.  Please include me!  I am  inspired so much that I want to become a professional artist. I’ve always wanted to go to Ringling, but that dream has been shattered through my teenage years . You helped me put my dream back together.  Now,  I want to go to Ringling more than ever and, for the first time in a very long time, I think I can make it.  I would love it if you would consider writing Ringling a letter of recommendation for me when the time comes. Speak soon!  Sincerely,  Tricia Armstrong
Over a period of three days street painters that are regional, national and international travel to Burns Square to create master works of art on the pavement surface before visitors who become a part of the creative process.  Artists create 2D works that range in size from 6' x 8' up to 12' x 24' using pastel chalks that are provided by the festival.  The organization pays for all the artists travel, lodging, food, supplies, events, amenities, PR and awards ceremony. 
Cost below is average per artist:
Budget $3,000
Category Arts, Culture & Humanities, General/Other Performing Arts
Program Linked to Organizational Strategy Yes
Population Served General/Unspecified Families Poor,Economically Disadvantaged,Indigent
Short Term Success Participating artists will learn from each other and the visitors.
Long Term Success We will have many artists participate from around the world for free and everyone will be able to attend for free.
Program Success Monitoring The increase in attendance each year shows us the need for this cultural event and the importance of keeping the event free for all.
Program Success Examples We are receiving emails from students and artists from all over the United States and the world who want to participate.
Program Comments by Organization The 2013 festival stretched its artistic offerings with its theme, “Legacy of Valor” by focusing on honoring our Veterans, inspiring patriotism and embracing freedom. Street painters recreated famous historical paintings, use photographs or create original masterpieces with the theme as their guide. Our children’s area had performers and activities in addition to chalking for those 12 years of age and under.  Performances enhanced the experience with events such as a color guard and taps at our Thoughtful Reflection area.  The opportunities gave our artists and creative team the ability to think out of the box in hopes to bring the inquisitive mind within everyone - out to play for the day.

Our challenge each year is dealing with our success and increased attendance that has remained steady at more than 200,000 the past few seasons. To accommodate the visitors we have had to review and discuss lessons learned with crowd control. We expanded the festival to move down S. Pineapple Avenue to the Opera House so that our visitors can focus on the performers, the art and the theme as this will allow us to have the festival flow from Burns Square to downtown.  The festival was six days this year.  We created one way walking traffic down each side of the festival for our second season so people do not keep running into each other and it was a success this year. We discouraged pets this year because there are no amenities for them and we witnessed too many animals being stepped in previous years – we love dogs but it is not a dog friendly event. We worked with other festivals, organizations and events so they can benefit from the visitors we attract to the area.

Program Comments by Foundation
CEO/Executive Director
CEO/Executive Director Ms. Denise Caryl Kowal
CEO Term Start 1997
CEO/Executive Director Email
Experience Denise Kowal has diverse and tangible experience in business and the cultural arts.  She has owned several commercial properties in Sarasota County and historic structures in downtown Sarasota, most notably the Historic Herald Square building that has 9 residential units (one is her residence), 4 boutique hotel rooms, one restaurant, 8 commercial spaces.  She is a Master Valuer (appraiser) of Jewelry and Gemstones and she has owned jewelry stores downtown and on St. Armands and is an expert witness in the court system. She is a trained New Urbanist and has traveled the world with the University of Miami studying architecture.
Former CEOs/Executive Directors
Senior Staff
Staff & Volunteer Statistics
Full Time Staff 1
Part Time Staff 0
Staff Retention Rate % 80
Professional Development Yes
Contractors 0
Volunteers 300
Management Reports to Board N/A
CEO/Executive Director Formal Evaluation N/A
Senior Management Formal Evaluation N/A
Non-Management Formal Evaluation N/A
We collaborate yearly with over 500 artists and at least 50 other organizations, nonprofits, schools, businesses, clubs, associations, companies and groups to support the yearly theme celebrated during the Sarasota Chalk Festival.  In fact, the festival is successful because of our collaborations such as the Sarasota Opera performance of Madame Butterfly and another year by Fuzion Dance both performed on one of street paintings. Other collaborations include that of our visitors who become a part of the performance as the viewer as well as the children and young at heart who can participate just by showing up.
External Assessments and Accreditations
Awards & Recognition
Best Sarasota Festival - Readers PollSarasota Magazine2011
Best Sarasota Success - Readers PollSarasota Magazine2011
Best Sarasota Festival - Readers PollSRQ Media Group2012
Runner-up Best Sarasota Citizen Ego Leonard - Reader's PollSarasota Magazine2012
Runner-up Best Downtown Event - Reader's PollSRQ Media Group2011
Top 10 Oddball-News Stories - Ego Leonard for washing up on Siesta BeachTime Magazine2011
SRQ Media
Best Sarasota Festival - Readers PollSRQ Media Group2011
Best Sarasota Festival - Readers PollSarasota Magazine2012
Beat of the Best - Best FestivalSarasota Magazine2013
Best of SRQ - Best FestivalSRQ Magazine2013
Beat of the Best - Best FestivalSarasota Magazine2014
Best of SRQ - Best FestivalSRQ Magazine2014
Risk Management Provisions
Government Licenses
Organization Licensed by the Government No
Fundraising Plan No
Communication Plan No
Strategic Plan No
Strategic Plan Years
Strategic Plan Adopted 0
Management Succession Plan No
Policies and Procedures No
Continuity of Operations Plan No
Nondiscrimination Policy No
Whistle Blower Policy No
Document Destruction Policy No
Directors and Officers Insurance Policy No
Management Comments by Organization We are the only arts organization in the county that allows anyone to participate in and attend our festival as an artist therefore we are the most diverse arts organization in Sarasota County. We are also entirely volunteer and do all this with passion for the arts and for supporting and encouraging diversity so the intellect of our community can flourish.
Management Comments by Foundation
Board Chair
Board Chair Ms. Denise Caryl Kowal
Company Affiliation Kowality Antique Decorative Arts, Inc.
Board Term July 2009 to June 2017
Board Chair Email
Board Members
Board Members
Ms. Melissa Clark Melissa Carlk Designs
Ms. Carole Anne Henry Retired
Ms. Denise Caryl Kowal Kowality Antique Decorative Arts, Inc.
Student serving on the board through Community Youth Development? No
Board Demographics - Ethnicity
African American/Black 0
Asian American/Pacific Islander 0
Caucasian 3
Hispanic/Latino 0
Native American/American Indian 0
Other 0
Board Demographics - Gender
Male 0
Female 3
Unspecified 0
Board Term Lengths 5
Board Term Limits 25
Board Orientation No
Number of Full Board Meetings Annually 12
Board Meeting Attendance % 100
Board Self-Evaluation Yes
Written Board Selection Criteria No
Written Conflict of Interest Policy Yes
% of Board Making Monetary Contributions 100
% of Board Making In-Kind Contributions 100
Constituency Includes Client Representation Yes
Standing Committees
Special Events (Golf Tournament, Walk / Run, Silent Auction, Dinner / Gala)
Student Affairs
Governance Comments by Organization
We are so excited about the impact our festival has locally drawing tourism, commerce and exposure for our county by growing to be the most important pavement art festival in the world. We are not only locally creating a sense of place for our residents and joyous experiences in the cultural arts but we are connecting artist worldwide creating a global community.
We remain the first and only international festival in our county that welcomes over 95% of the best of the best renowned artists from around the world in any chosen discipline. We remain the only volunteer arts organization that creates something so spectacular that our artists waive their artist fees do our community so they can participate, a donation of over $1,000,000 making them the largest benefactors of the Sarasota Chalk Festival. We remain the only international festival that welcomes anyone to participate in and attend for free because of the generous support of our in-kind sponsors and cash donors as well as the hard work of our volunteers garner through donations. 
While we welcome the best of the best, we also welcome artists to learn and be inspired by our artists that travel from over 28 countries world-wide, all across the USA and from all corners of Florida as well as local artists, students and children. We host classes and outreach programs that are free to local community schools, churches, libraries and organization to bring awareness to this beautiful ephemeral art form. 
We reach our goal yearly to create memorable experiences by brining people together around the cultural arts and this year is magnificent! We are reaching to secure a Guinness World Record for the Largest Anamorphic Pavement Art that will be featured at the 2014 Sarasota Chalk Festival 'Extinct and Endangered Species' November 14-17.
We do all this with a budget that has reached over 2 million dollars and because of the in-kind support we receive, we only spend roughly $250,000 - $450,000 yearly. We believe in community and it is the community that year after year says yes to the Sarasota Chalk Festival and the offerings we provide.
Please join us because our largest challenge is money and lack of it - we dream big but spend wisely. We use all our funds to give back to the community in creating this event so help us shine and shine brighter each year.  
Governance Comments by Foundation
Fiscal Year Projections
Fiscal Year Begins 2014
Fiscal Year Ends 2015
Projected Revenue $2,300,000.00
Projected Expenses $2,300,000.00
Endowment Value
Endowment Spending Policy Income Only
Endowment Spending Policy %
Capital Campaign
In a Capital Campaign No
Campaign Purpose
Campaign Goal
Campaign Dates 0 to 0
Amount Raised To Date 0 as of 0
Capital Campaign Anticipated in Next 5 Years? Yes
IRS Form 990s
Audit/Financial Documents
Historical Financial Review
Expense Allocation
Fiscal Year201320122011
Program Expense$126,087$224,017$98,287
Administration Expense$22,872$19,010$3,150
Fundraising Expense$0$0$0
Payments to Affiliates$0$0$0
Total Revenue/Total Expenses1.300.710.81
Program Expense/Total Expenses85%92%97%
Fundraising Expense/Contributed Revenue0%0%0%
Assets and Liabilities
Fiscal Year201320122011
Total Assets$255$6,422$9,198
Current Assets$255$6,422$9,198
Long-Term Liabilities$0$0$0
Current Liabilities$44,953$96,446$28,740
Total Net Assets($44,698)($90,024)($19,542)
Top Funding Sources
Fiscal Year201320122011
Top Funding Source & Dollar AmountContributions, gifts, grants $194,285Contributions, gifts, grants $172,541Contributions, gifts, grants $81,894
Second Highest Funding Source & Dollar Amount0 $0Investment income $4Investment income $1
Third Highest Funding Source & Dollar Amount0 $00 $00 $0
CEO/Executive Director Compensation N/A
Co-CEO/Executive Director Compensation
Tax Credits No
Short Term Solvency
Fiscal Year201320122011
Current Ratio: Current Assets/Current Liabilities0.010.070.32
Long Term Solvency
Fiscal Year201320122011
Long-Term Liabilities/Total Assets0%0%0%
Financials Comments
Financial Comments by Organization
The Avenida de Colores is a relatively new 501c3 organization as of 2010.  While the organization is entering its sixth successful season as the largest cultural event for Sarasota County, it is run and managed by passionate and dedicated volunteers.  The passion that drives this organization is hard to record as it is the social impact that affects so many individuals who take the time to express their heartfelt gratitude and appreciation for what it has brought to their lives - we have their testimonials and can share them easily. 
We have learned this year that we need to include all our volunteer hours to receive the value of those  dedicated volunteers on our tax return. We also need to put all the in-kind support and artist in-kind support on our return that will reflect the true support this event receive to be able to make something so special with limited funds.  
There has been nothing easy about creating an event that is groundbreaking, not only to our region, but for the entire art form worldwide - what has been easy is the commitment of the artists, visitors and volunteers who personally see the affect on those who appreciate what they are exposed to because of their dedication to keeping this event free for all to attend and participate.
Financial Comments by Foundation
Financial figures for 2011 only reflect a 6 month period, as organization is new.  Figures taken from IRS Form 990-EZ.  Contributions include corporate and foundation support as they are not separately stated.
Nonprofit Sarasota Chalk Festival
Address 530 S. Orange Avenue
Sarasota, FL 34236
Primary Phone 941 954-5800