Press Releases

Date of Release: 
Tuesday, May 13, 2008
Contact Info: 

Katie Hunter, Art Fair on the Square Coordinator 
608.257.0158 x 230 or

Katie Kazan, Director of Public Information 
608.257.0158 x 237 or
High-resolution images are available upon request

Art Fair on the Square Celebrates 50 Years With Expanded Offerings for Kids

Art Fair on the Square Celebrates 50 Years
Anniversary Event Set for July 12-13, 2008
MADISON, WI – The Madison Museum of Contemporary Art will celebrate the 50th anniversary of Art Fair on the Square on July 12 and 13, 2008. For hundreds of thousands of city residents, the fair–which today occupies eight blocks around Madison's Capitol Square and attracts nearly 500 artists and 200,000 visitors–has become central to summers in Madison. However, this was not always the case.
Art Fair on the Square began in 1959 as the “Sidewalk Art Show.” Forty-three artists exhibited about 500 works of art in the parking lot of the Brookwood Shopping Center at the corner of Midvale Boulevard and the Beltline. Total sales were reported to be $550, and shoppers selected a work by Ellen Milan, valued at $35, for the “favorite picture” award.
In 1964, the fair initiated its annual July presence on the Capitol Square when it was held at the North Hamilton Street approach to the Capitol. In succeeding years, as the event grew, it moved first to the Capitol grounds, then to the sidewalk surrounding the Square, and finally, in 1977, to the streets surrounding the Capitol. The same year, the event was renamed Art Fair on the Square.
In recognizing the fair's milestone anniversary, MMoCA's booth at this summer's fair will display an array of photos and memorabilia highlighting the history of the event. In addition, with the support of Madison Gas and Electric, the museum will launch an Art Fair on the Greener Square campaign aimed at reducing the fair's environmental impact. Artists and vendors will be encouraged to use recyclable packaging and other materials, and the public urged to “Hike, Bike or Bus to the Fair.” The Art Fair on the Greener Square campaign will also showcase the connection between the community, the environment, and the arts. 
Dates and hours at this year's fair are: Saturday, July 12 (9 am-6 pm) and Sunday, July 13 (10 am-5 pm).
MMoCA invites everyone to take part in the 50th anniversary celebration by helping with concession stands, providing relief for participating artists, or staffing information booths or the Silent Auction tent. To volunteer–or to share memories or photographs from earlier fairs–contact the museum at 608.257.0158 x 230 or
To date, generous support for Art Fair on the Square has been provided by Madison Gas and Electric; Covance; Pepsi; Wildwood Productions; Reinhart Boerner Van Duren, S.C.; Bluegreen; Saturn of Madison; Wisconsin Lottery; Atkinson|Dines, Inc. Downtown Real Estate; WKOW-Channel 27; Madison Magazine; 105.5-Triple M; Stoddard's Meat Market; and Whole Foods.

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