Press Releases

Date of Release: 
Monday, August 8, 2011
Contact Info: 

Stephen Fleischman, Director or 608.257.0158 x 225

Katie Kazan, Director of Public Information     
608.257.0158 x 237 or

Madison Museum of Contemporary Art Purchases Its Space

Madison Museum of Contemporary Art Purchases Its Space

MADISON, WI — For the first time in its 110-year history, the Madison Museum of Contemporary Art owns its building. On August 5, 2011, MMoCA board president Jim Yehle signed documents making the museum the owner of all of the spaces it currently occupies, including its galleries, lobby, lecture hall, rooftop sculpture garden, education classroom, and storage and preparatory spaces, as well as the Museum Store and the restaurant space occupied by Fresco. 
Designed by world-renowned architect Cesar Pelli, the museum’s facility is comprised of 51,500 square feet of interior space, as well as the 7,100-square-foot rooftop sculpture garden. As part of the Overture Center complex, the facility was made possible by the extraordinary generosity of W. Jerome Frautschi, a former member of the museum’s board of trustees. The new purchase agreement spells out a condominium relationship between the museum and Overture Center for the Arts, which will continue to own the adjacent spaces within the building.
The museum opened to the public in its current home on April 23, 2006. Prior to that time, the museum--then known as the Madison Art Center--occupied leased spaces in the former Lincoln School building (1964-1980) and the Madison Civic Center (1981-2003). During its first decades (1901-1963), the Madison Art Association, as it was then known, presented exhibitions in borrowed spaces, including the University of Wisconsin-Madison Memorial Union and the Madison Public Library. 
The Madison Museum of Contemporary Art is a nonprofit, independent 501(c)3 organization. It is organized and run separately from Overture Center for the Arts and is governed by a 25-member board of trustees. Its mission is to “serve the art life of the community by creating opportunities for direct experience with works of art, by providing a forum for the exchange of ideas about art, and by offering programs to enhance the appreciation and understanding of art.” 
MMoCA is supported entirely through private contributions and grants. It relies on memberships and support from individuals, corporations, agencies, and foundations. Important funding is also generated through volunteer group programs; special events such as Art Fair on the Square; rental of the museum’s lobby, lecture hall, and rooftop garden; and sales through the Museum Store.
Admission to all MMoCA exhibitions and most of its education programs is free of charge. Since opening in its current space in April 2006, MMoCA has served more than 865,000 visitors. According to museum director Stephen Fleischman, MMoCA is able to welcome visitors without charge because of the community’s ongoing dedication to the visual arts. “More than a century ago, Madison residents founded the Madison Art Association to make the art of the times available to all through public exhibitions. Today, we are gratified to own an incredible space in which to present the visual arts. It is the first facility in the museum’s history that was designed specifically to support our mission.” 
Jim Yehle, president of MMoCA’s board of trustees, emphasized the exceptional status of the museum as a free destination for visitors and city residents. “Almost without exception, art museums in other cities charge visitors, with admission fees up to $20. The fact that MMoCA can offer free admission, without subsidy from the City of Madison or any other public entity, really speaks to the cultural commitment of city residents.”

# # #