Some Burns Square business owners questioning Chalk Festival decisions

Font Size:
Default font size
Larger font size

Related Stories

Posted: Tuesday, November 27, 2012 10:05 pm | Updated: 9:20 pm, Thu Dec 27, 2012.

SARASOTA - It has been about a month since the successful Sarasota Chalk Festival wrapped up in Sarasota's Historic Burns Square. But now, some business owners are expressing concerns and frustrations over what's happening in the area now.

A group of business owners from the Square plan to meet with Sarasota City Manager Tom Barwin this week. They are upset that the street still has remnants of the artwork on it, and some props from the Festival, like two model elephants, still remain standing in the neighborhood.

"It just doesn't seem that anyone knows what to do afterwards," said Sharon Katzman, the owner of IOptics. "I think this has been a problem every year, that we are left to deal with the after effects of thousands of people in our little neighborhood."

Denise Kowal, the President of the Festival says she has permission from the city to keep the street art up until December 6th, which is one month after the Festival concluded.

It may be other artwork, however, that have some scratching their heads. In the weeks following the Festival, some of the Festival artists have painted graphic murals on buildings in Burns Square.

"I would not be upset if I did not think it took away from the charm," said Marnie Matarese, who works in Burns Square. "As we walked the neighborhood and began to look at other pieces of art, we felt this was not really a good thing for this neighborhood."

To see two of the paintings, view the pictures above.

Kowal says she got permission from each building's owner to have an artist paint the murals. She says at no time has anyone approached her to discuss their concerns about the Festival or the murals.

"The people complaining have never made one attempt to come to us and discuss the issue. It's hard for me to deal with an issue when I have people not willing to open up a dialog," said Kowal.

Barwin says he will meet with Kowal in the days following his meeting with business owners.

Rules of Conduct

  • 1 Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
  • 2 Don't Threaten or Abuse. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated. AND PLEASE TURN OFF CAPS LOCK.
  • 3 Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
  • 4 Be Nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
  • 5 Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
  • 6 Share with Us. We'd love to hear eyewitness accounts, the history behind an article.

Welcome to the discussion.


  • Vojvdodata posted at 1:57 pm on Wed, Nov 28, 2012.

    Vojvdodata Posts: 3

    Oh shut up. All business owners know how to do is complain. It apparently wasn't enough that the festival boosts their business it seems. What's wrong with the elephants? Are the now loosing business because of a statue elephant? Ridiculous. The paintings add creativity and spice up the scenery in an otherwise boring senior town.

  • Moira posted at 11:39 am on Wed, Nov 28, 2012.

    Moira Posts: 1

    SERIOUSLY? The Chalk Festival brings millions to Sarasota every year (est. $9-10MM 2011), much of it to Burns Court, and thousands of people to the doorstep of Katzman's business. If she doesn't need or want the business, good for her, she has always had the option to close and leave during the Festival. And Matarese? A Realtor who doesn't appear to understand the value of the Festival to the entire community, let alone property values at her business front door? Public dissent is, or course, an option for the very few lonely voices of Festival dissent. What a shame that they are willing to put such effort behind self-interest, and ignore the great good the Festival consistently brings to our community. And shame on ABC for reporting this without one comment from another Burns Court retailer, Main Street restaurant, or Sarasota hotel.


Right Now









Cool Today


Send your photos & videos to and you could be featured on ABC 7 & our website.