Avenida de Colores Inc d/b/a Chalk Festival
200 Base Avenue
Venice FL 34285
To enhance community by inspiring collaborative support from volunteers, artists, visitors and donors so that the world’s best pavement artists can perform alongside anyone who wants to participate in the pavement arts or any other art discipline.
CEO/Executive Director Denise C Kowal
Board Chair Ms. Denise Caryl Kowal
Board Chair Affiliation Historic Herald Square
General Info
Organization DBA
Sarasota Chalk Festival
Chalk Festival
Avenida de Colores, Inc.
Venice Chalk Festival
The Chalk Festival
Supported Organization Avenida de Colores Inc
Tax Exempt Status Public Supported Charity
Incorporation Year 2010
State Charitable Solicitations Permit Yes Apr 2018
State Registration Yes Nov 2017
Financial Summary
Note: Revenue includes the value of in-kind contributions/donations
IRS Letter of Determination
IRS Letter of DeterminationView
Impact Statement
Top five accomplishments:
1.  We (100% volunteer team) completed our 10th season with 33 Captains managing over 450 volunteers and 250 artists as the only international cultural arts festival in Sarasota County that provides for all ages and skill levels to participate as an artist for free alongside the largest gathering of world's most famous pavement artists to ever exist. 
2.  We secured a Guinness World Record for the Largest Anamorphic Pavement Painting in 2014 and in 2015 for the Largest Anamorphic Pavement Painting of a Figure. We inspired 58 national and international professional pavement artists to donate two weeks to the Sarasota County community. Local artists, students, volunteers, and homeless residents helped complete the paintings. 
3.  In 2017 we hosted over 250 artists, 45 students and thousands of families to participate. We provide inspiration, art supplies, instruction, mentorship as well travel and lodging for out-of-town artists.
4. In 2017 we created the first ever Pavement Art Museum in showcasing our outstanding accomplishments and records. In addition, we created the first fully curated pavement art exhibition with a published Raison d'etre. 
5. We remain trailblazers for the pavement arts:
  • Attracted 95% of the most renown pavement artists from all over the world, the only event in the world to accomplish this yearly
  • Display the largest number of 3D installations to have ever existed at any location at one time 
  • Debuted the most innovations in the art form and each year advance the art form in unprecedented ways
Top five goals:
1.  Celebrate our 11th season with the first multi-dimensional pavement painting that has been recently patented and ready for debut.
2.  To restore and change our 2014 Guinness World Record for the Largest Anamorphic Pavement Painting. An undertaking that will require artists to be in town an additional two weeks prior to the festival.
3. To partner with Sarasota High School to start a student pavement art event on their campus for 2018. 
4. Continue to educate the public on the ephemeral fine art forms and the importance of patrons being able to see this incredible Museum in Motion. 
Needs Statement

Our top 5 most pressing needs:

  1. Professional artist expenses to cover travel, lodging, food, supplies, averages $2500-$5000 per artist
  2. Sponsorship of 10th Anniversary Museum $50,000
  3. Sponsorship of our Venice facilities - one year (office and warehouse rent) $30,000 
  4. Event location rental $7,500 airport fairgrounds
Actions in process to meet financial resource needs:  
  • Changing from a free event to a admission event
  • Adjusting needs based on fundraising accomplishments and review of 2015 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
Our Founder, Denise Kowal, created the Festival as President of her Property Owners Association while tasked with long-term visioning for her area. She received training in both the Smart Code and Asset Based Community Development and utilized her knowledge to come up with a cultural community event that would attract tourism and increase revenues for the area businesses in a culturally rich way. 
In 2007 Kowal created the first Chalk Festival that successfully attracted 5,000 visitors to Burns Square. Organizing the Festival was logistically difficult and expensive so that Kowal ceased planning year two. 
After repeated requests by merchants, Kowal planned the 2nd Festival 1 1/2 years later. It grew into a national event attracting 30,000 visitors. Again organizing the Festival was logistically difficult and expensive. In addition the property owners felt it was growing beyond their mission so Kowal ceased planning of year three. 
After repeated requests by merchants, Kowal planned the 3rd Festival 1 1/2 years later, founded a 501c3 and renamed it Sarasota Chalk Festival.  It became the first international street painting Festival in the USA and hosted the largest number of 3D pavement art. We attracted 80,000 visitors and the SCVB announced an economic impact of $3,000,000. 
In 2011, it became one of the most important cultural events and contemporary street painting venue in the world, attracting the 95% of the renowned artists in the field. We managed over 500 artists, including the innovator of 3D pavement art Kurt Wenner. The first AR street painting and opera set was created with a Sarasota Opera partnership. We attracted 200,000 visitors and the Children's area grew to 5000 participants. 
The 2012 Kurt Wenner created the Circus Parade and Nik Wallenda performed on the sway poles to celebrate the Circus theme. Partnerships with Ringling Bros., Sarasota Circus, Sailor Circus and Fuzion Dance enhanced the theme. 
In 2013 we honored veterans, inspired patriotism and embraced freedom with the Legacy of Valor theme. A 1/10th replica of the Statue of Liberty & 'Thoughtful Reflection' honored the Sarasota National Cemetery. Dinner for 500 veterans followed a veteran ceremony with dignitaries. The Festival doubled in size.
In 2014 we successfully moved the Festival to Venice and spanning three locations implementing a pilot parking program. With over 100 participants we secured a Guinness World Record in 10 days for the Largest Anamorphic Pavement Art. 
In 2015 we celebrated the theme "Eat, Drink and Be Merry." We welcomed over 250 artists to perform. We created again a large group project, painting the Largest Anamorphic Figure Pavement Painting in the world.
In 2016 we themed the Chalk Festival "Love & Peace." We performed entirely at the Venice Airport Fairgrounds with over 350 artists participating.
We continue to remain 100% volunteer and remain the only international festival in the world that does so while hosting the most renown artists in an art discipline that contributes their artist fees as in kind-support.  
Areas Served
Areas Served
FL- Sarasota
Areas Served Comments
The Festival primarily serves Sarasota County with hundreds of outreach programs throughout the year. We host outreach programs in Manatee County too and mentor communities around the world that are interested in starting pavement art festivals.  
The Chalk Festival is a local community event that brings together a global community of artists once a year on the Island of Venice, Florida 34285 in three locations: 
  • Venice Airport Fairgrounds
  • Miami Avenue West, Downtown Venice
  • Venice Art Center
Service Categories
Primary Org Type Arts,Culture & Humanities
Secondary Org Type Community Improvement, Capacity Building
Tertiary Org Type Public & Societal Benefit
Statement from the Board Chair/Board President
My parents are artists and I grew up poor and homeless but rich with fond memories of my childhood. While we had little food and bathed more often than not in lakes and rivers we had unbridled opportunity to create art and consistent exposure to culture. I cannot imagine life without art because it was the arts that made me equal.
Today I believe everyone should have the unbridled opportunity to create and experience art and cultural, which is one of the many founding principles of the Chalk Festival. Therefore, we raise funds so that anyone of any skill level and any age from any background or belief can participate for free. We encourage diversity.
Since diversity is also a founding principle we support artists from all over the world to participate giving everyone a culturally rich experience. Therefore, we raise funds so an artist from Milwaukee can paint alongside an artist from Russia who may work with an artist from Japan who shares his supplies with an artist from Venice. We are international.
In fact, we are the first international street painting festival in the USA and the only one that hosts 95% of the world's most renowned artists in the pavement arts. Therefore, we raise funds to support the tradition we have created by bringing artists together from all over the world, once a year, to support community.
It is the love of community that the Festival was founded initially. The Festival is so inclusive and exciting it attracts 200,000 visitors and $10,000,000 into our local economy. It has accomplished this as a grass-roots organization that inspires passionate volunteers. 
We have accomplished all we do as a 100% volunteer organization because of the strong principles Kowal earned from John McKnight during her Asset Based Community Development training. Therefore, we raise funds so that community residents can share their talents and support a sense of place and belonging, including businesses.
We are fortunate to receive roughly $2,000,000 of in-kind support because businesses, artists and volunteers take ownership in the Festival's success. Therefore, we only raise funds for those necessities that require cash.
In summary, I feel fortunate to be able to work with so many dedicated and passionate people who give unselfishly to make our lives and world more inclusive and meaningful. 
Statement from the CEO/Executive Director
The Chalk Festival 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 the artist and audience.  
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 $10,000
Category Arts, Culture & Humanities, General/Other Cultural Festivals
Program Linked to Organizational Strategy Yes
Population Served Infants to Preschool (under age 5) Families Children Only (5 - 14 years)
Short Term Success By the end of the 2015 season over 25,000 children will be exposed to the rich history and cultural traditions of street painting and the ephemeral performing arts. 
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 will help grow the festival with local participation, provide skills that are tangible, encourage sense of self and confidence by providing 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: http://www.chalkfestival.com/?p=4764
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.
Description Debuting 2015 the Chalk Festival will take Seniors Citizens vertical with a street art activity for anyone over 60 who would like to create art. Four 8’ x 20’ walls will be constructed specifically for Senior Citizens to create graffiti using spray cans, pastel paints and chalk art on an oversized chalk board, painting with brushes and rollers or stencils in this freestyle street art activity.
Budget $37,000
Category Arts, Culture & Humanities, General/Other Cultural Festivals
Program Linked to Organizational Strategy Yes
Population Served Elderly and/or Disabled Aging, Elderly, Senior Citizens
Short Term Success We have recruited 3 seniors to lead the program and they are supported by 35 senior art instructors and senior volunteers and by the end will enrich the lives of hundreds of Senior Citizens. 
Long Term Success Our program will provide the opportunity for Senior Citizens to participate in the arts, which is known to increase the cognitive abilities and life span of Senior Citizens. 
Program Success Monitoring We have received substantial feedback from area independent living and retirement community residents and program directors. 
Program Success Examples Our Senior Citizen volunteers meet weekly to make sure the program is successful.
Program Comments by Organization Our Festival stretched its artistic offerings each year and this year we added a program for Senior Citizens. Our children’s area is for the young and young at heart so that it encourages family participation. We have dozens of other who perform with us enhanced the experience with events such as poetry and storytelling.  We have a concert stage with music from 10 am till 9 am for four days. We always think outside the box in hopes to bring the inquisitive mind within everyone - out to play for the day.

Our challenge each year is having enough funds leading up the Festival. Many of our expenses have to be paid prior to us actually receiving grant funds or revenues from the Festival.

 We also have deal with increased attendance and logistics of shuttles for visitors to our various locations. While our strengths are creating an experience that people want to have, we are successful in doing those things necessary so the Festival thrives. 
CEO/Executive Director
CEO/Executive Director Denise C Kowal
CEO Term Start 2007
CEO/Executive Director Email n/a
Denise Kowal is the founder of the Avenida de Colores nonprofit, businesswoman and major stakeholder in downtown Sarasota. She has grown the Chalk Festival, that started as a small community event, into the most important international pavement art festival in the world. The festival consistently hosts the largest gathering of the most important and renown pavement artists in the world each year since 2010. The festival has continued to host, in addition, the largest number of 3D illusion pavement painting in one location than any other place in the world.
To name a few accomplishments, the Chalk Festival is the first festival to showcase this art form and artists entirely, started a new trend in sharing information about the art form and the artists, created the first publication of the artists, first website, first blog, hosted the largest number of world debuts, teaches the 3D pavement geometry, and created the largest anamorphic pavement painting in the world. 
Ms. Kowal is the owner of the Historic Herald Square building since 1986 that has 13 residential units and 7 commercial tenants. She is an avid historic preservationist, artist and trained in New Urbanism and the Smart Code.  
Former CEOs/Executive Directors
Senior Staff
Mike Pachota General Logistics
Suzy Pardo Events Captain
Staff & Volunteer Statistics
Full Time Staff 0
Part Time Staff 0
Staff Retention Rate % N/A
Professional Development No
Contractors 0
Volunteers 600
Management Reports to Board N/A
CEO/Executive Director Formal Evaluation N/A
Senior Management Formal Evaluation N/A
Non-Management Formal Evaluation No
We collaborate yearly with over 500 artists and with dozens of 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 those with the Sarasota Opera, Nik Wallenda, and Smithsonian Institute. 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.
Arts & Cultural Alliance of Sarasota2015
Venice Area Chamber of Commerce2015
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
Best of the Best - Best FestivalSarasota Magazine2015
SRQ Best - Best Community Blunder for losing FestivalSRQ Magazine2015
Largest Anamorphic Pavement ArtGuinness Book of World Records2014
Winner of Women in Business AwardSRQ Media Group2015
Best of the Best Sarasota EventSarasota Magazine2016
Best of the Best Sarasota Event/FestivalSarasota Magazine2017
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
Continuity of Operations Plan No
Nondiscrimination Policy No
Whistle Blower Policy No
Document Destruction Policy No
Directors and Officers Insurance Policy No
Policies and Procedures No
Management Comments by Organization We are an entirely volunteer organization that is structured using Asset Based Community Development tools. Thereby giving a bit of ownership to everyone that participates as a volunteer, artist or donor. We believe everyone has talent and skills to share and it is those who live in the community that through volunteering support a strong and sustainable community. Therefore we build our team from the inside out making the core of the organization the community residents that are supported by area businesses, government and outside agencies and companies. 
Multi-Media Comments by Organization
Board Chair
Board Chair Ms. Denise Caryl Kowal
Company Affiliation Historic Herald Square
Board Term Oct 2010 to Oct 2020
Board Chair Email denise@chalkfestival.com
Board Members
Board Members
Mr. Douglas Henry Retired
Ms. Carole Anne Henry Retired
Ms. Denise Caryl Kowal Kowality Antique Decorative Arts, Inc.
Constituency Includes Client Representation Yes
Board Ethnicity
African American/Black 0
Asian American/Pacific Islander 0
Caucasian 3
Hispanic/Latino 0
Native American/American Indian 0
Other 0 0
Board Gender
Male 1
Female 2
Unspecified 0
Board Term Lengths 20
Board Term Limits 99
Board Orientation No
Number of Full Board Meetings Annually 12
Board Meeting Attendance % 100
Board Self-Evaluation Yes
Written Board Selection Criteria No
Board Conflict of Interest Policy Yes
% of Board Making Monetary Contributions 100
% of Board Making In-Kind Contributions 100
Standing Committees
Special Events (Golf Tournament, Walk / Run, Silent Auction, Dinner / Gala)
Student Affairs
Community Outreach / Community Relations
Advisory Board / Advisory Council
Development / Fund Development / Fund Raising / Grant Writing / Major Gifts
Program / Program Planning
Project Oversight
Communications / Promotion / Publicity / Public Relations
Audit, Compliance and Controls
Governance Comments by Organization
The organization remains under the guidance of our Founder and Board of Directors. Currently there are 55 lead captains, each in charge of managing a specific Festival activity and team of volunteers. We are still in need of 20 captains and more volunteers so we are actively recruiting by hosting weekly volunteer sign-ups. 
Current Year Projections
Tax Year Start Month Jan
Tax Year Start Day 01
Tax Year Begins 2017
Tax Year End Month Dec
Tax Year End Day 31
Tax Year Ends 2017
Projected Revenue $2,300,000.00
Projected Expenses $2,300,000.00
Total Projected Revenue includes "in-kind" contributions/ donations Yes
Organization has Endowment No
Capital Campaign
Currently In a Capital Campaign No
Anticipate Campaign within 5 years? Yes
Campaign Purpose
Campaign Goal
Amount Raised To Date 0 as of 0
IRS Form 990s
Financial Review
Revenue SourcesHelpThe financial analysis involves a comparison of the IRS Form 990 and the audit report (when available) and revenue sources may not sum to total based on reconciliation differences. Revenue from foundations and corporations may include individual contributions when not itemized separately.
Fiscal Year201620152014
Foundation and
Corporation Contributions
Government Contributions$65,111$50,985$49,471
Individual Contributions$71,240$255,219$176,625
Investment Income, Net of Losses$0$0$0
Membership Dues$0$105$0
Special Events$0$0$0
Revenue In-Kind$2,085,798$52,100$1,251,900
Expense Allocation
Fiscal Year201620152014
Program Expense$291,739$265,333$191,587
Administration Expense$15,838$28,115$40,638
Fundraising Expense$0$0$0
Payments to Affiliates$0$0$0
Total Revenue/Total Expenses1.201.040.97
Program Expense/Total Expenses95%90%83%
Fundraising Expense/Contributed Revenue0%0%0%
Assets and Liabilities
Fiscal Year201620152014
Total Assets$119,457$49,396$8,107
Current Assets$107,803$39,742$1,703
Long-Term Liabilities$0$0$0
Current Liabilities$49,216$41,867$58,934
Total Net Assets$70,241$7,529($50,827)
Top Funding Sources
Fiscal Year201620152014
Top Funding Source & Dollar AmountProgram Service Revenue $233,938Contributions, gifts, grants $255,219Contributions, gifts, grants $176,625
Second Highest Funding Source & Dollar AmountContributions, gifts, grants $71,240Government Grants - Unspecified $50,985Govertnment Grants - Unspecified $49,471
Third Highest Funding Source & Dollar AmountGovernment Grants - Unspecified $65,111Membership Dues $1050 $0
CEO/Executive Director Compensation N/A
Tax Credits No
Short Term Solvency
Fiscal Year201620152014
Current Ratio: Current Assets/Current Liabilities2.190.950.03
Long Term Solvency
Fiscal Year201620152014
Long-Term Liabilities/Total Assets0%0%0%
Financials Comments
Financial Comments by Organization For the past two season we have completed our event season in the black with some funds to carry us forward. This is a big change from our first 6 seasons that always ended in the red. We are changing from a free event to a paid event for the 2016 season to help us become more sustainable moving forward. We garner close to 2MM of in-kind support each year that is now being shown on our financial statements and tax returns. We do not have a professional fundraiser or grant writer, nor do we have any paid staff but manage to do a lot, with a little. 
Financial Comments by Foundation
Financial figures for 2011 only reflect a 6 month period, as organization is new.  Figures taken from Federal tax returns and audited financial reviews.  Contributions include corporate and foundation support as they are not separately stated.  In 2014 the organization changed its accounting year end from June 30 to December 31 resulting in a short-period Federal tax return covering 7/1/14 - 12/31/14.   The value of contributed goods and services is included in income in the financial review.
Nonprofit Avenida de Colores Inc d/b/a Chalk Festival
Address 200 Base Avenue
Venice, FL 34236
Phone 941 488-8877