Press Releases

Date of Release: 
Wednesday, October 26, 2011
Contact Info: 

Katie Kazan, Director of Public Information 
608.257.0158 x 237 or

Annik Dupaty, Director of Events
Madison Museum of Contemporary Art
608.257.0158 x 230 or

Robert Chappell, Director of Strategic Communication
Overture Center for the Arts
608.258.4438 or

41st Annual Holiday Art Fair

Inspired Gifts, Family Fun, and a Beautiful Setting
At the 41st Annual Holiday Art Fair

Friday, November 18 ∙ 2–8 pm
Saturday, November 19 ∙ 10 am–5 pm
Sunday, November 20 ∙ 10 am–3 pm

Images available upon request; please email

MADISON, WI —In a continuing tradition, the Madison Museum of Contemporary Art and Overture Center for the Arts will join together to present the 41st annual Holiday Art Fair on November 18-21, 2011. With many new exhibitors and features, including Friday afternoon shopping hours, a gingerbread house decorating contest, and Madison Youth Choir’s annual concerts, this year’s fair promises to be warm, inviting, and robust. Shoppers will also enjoy the return of favorite traditions such as the Friday evening opening reception, silent auction, Gourmet Gallery, Rediscovered Art & Treasures Sale, and performances by local arts organizations.

This year’s fair will again take place throughout the beautiful architectural spaces of the Madison Museum of Contemporary Art and Overture Center for the Arts. Nearly 100 exhibitors will participate, including over 85 artists and 12 gourmet food vendors. Artists hail from as far away as California.

Hours and Admission
The 2011 Holiday Art Fair features extended shopping hours, with doors opening at 2 pm on Friday, November 18. Fair hours are:

Friday, November 18 ∙ 2–8 pm
Saturday, November 19 ∙ 10 am–5 pm
Sunday, November 20 ∙ 10 am–3 pm

Admission to the fair costs $5; children under 12 are free. Funds raised support the museum’s free exhibitions and education programs and Overture’s free and low-cost community and education programming.

Artists: the Heart of the Fair
Artists exhibiting at the 2011 Holiday Art Fair were chosen through a jury process from over 200 applicants. Among the works available to shoppers are jewelry, baskets, holiday decorations, clothing, and fine craft objects, as well as paintings, prints, and photographs.

Participating artists demonstrate sophisticated skills with a variety of materials, with distinctive style and flair. 

  • Elisabeth Maurland’s wheel-thrown stoneware is decorated with boldly colored slips and incised designs featuring animal motifs, reflecting the artist’s lifelong love of nature.
  • Marvin and Michelle Schafer of Q3 create eye-catching mobiles and jewelry of anodized aluminum, a material they select for its affordability, beautiful, saturated colors, and availability in recycled form.
  • Brian Lagesse shapes molten glass into brilliant, optic pieces. The simple but beautiful patterns in his vases, bowls, pitchers, and tumblers are inspired by the swirling back currents in rivers and streams.
  • Carrie Hoffnagle pairs traditional silversmithing techniques and materials with alternative, repurposed materials. This unique technique allows her to explore nontraditional possibilities for color in her vibrant line of jewelry.
  • Bekah Ash’s paintings are characterized by the graceful black contour lines that frame the faces in her fictional portraits, and by her harmonious use of vivid, layered color as background.
  • The eco-conscious team of Claudia Winter and Laura Vogt turn vintage sweaters and felted wool into funky scarves, fingerless gloves, and other accessories to keep customers warm in the winter.

Art lovers can preview works by participating artists--and create their own ‘must-have’ list in advance of the fair--at; click Events/Holiday Art Fair/Artists.

Stellar Gourmet Gallery
One of the fair’s most popular features, the Gourmet Gallery, will return with a wide selection of special foods from local vendors. Among the items available to this year’s shoppers are Christine’s Gourmet Toffees, which were included in the 2011 Emmy Awards celebrity SWAG bags. This is a can’t-miss opportunity to sample delectable treats and purchase gifts for all of the foodies on your holiday list.

Third Annual Gingerbread Casas for CASA Event 
The annual Gingerbread Casas for CASA event has found a new home at this year’s Holiday Art Fair. Dane County CASA recruits, trains, and supports volunteer Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA), who make weekly visits to children who have suffered abuse and neglect. This year’s Gingerbread Casas event will include a dozen or more gingerbread houses decorated by teams of master designers and amateur enthusiasts competing 11 am to 3:30 pm on Saturday, November 19, and 10 am to 2:45 pm on Sunday, November 20, respectively. Houses will be on display during the fair weekend in the Rotunda Studio on the lower level of the Overture Center.

Silent Auction and Once Loved Treasures
A silent auction in MMoCA’s Henry Street Gallery will highlight a variety of works from the fair’s exhibiting artists. Auction revenue supports free community programs at MMoCA, so bidders can enhance the cultural life of the community and perhaps find a bargain in the process.

Back by popular demand, the Rediscovered Art & Treasures Sale will offer a treasure–trove of donated original art, jewelry, small antiques, decorative art, prized collectibles, and other “pre-loved” items. The Rediscovered Art & Treasures Sale will be located in the museum’s education classroom just inside the Henry Street entrance to the building.

Opening Reception 
Shoppers who purchase tickets to the fair’s opening reception from 5 to 7 pm will gather in Overture Center’s aerial Upper Lobby for gentle Cuban rhythms from Sergio Rico Vacilon on guitar, cocktails, and hors d’oeuvres. The evening will also feature the annual lighting of Overture Center’s spectacular, cascading holiday lights.

Reception tickets cost $30 and may be purchased through November 9 online or by calling the museum at 608.257.0158 x 244. For additional information, visit; click Events/Holiday Art Fair/Opening Reception.

Holiday Art Fair Entertainment
Shoppers at this year’s fair will enjoy entertainment from some of Madison’s finest performing-arts organizations. Madison Youth Choirs will perform their annual concerts on the Rotunda Stage from 11 am to 4 pm on the Saturday of the fair. Short holiday-themed performances by actors from Forward Theater Company will take place from 11 am to noon on Sunday, November 20, on the Rotunda Stage. Children from Madison Contemporary Vision Dance will perform short dances from 11 am to noon on Sunday, November 20, throughout the fair. Other performances will take place in various locations throughout the fair weekend.

Catering a Fresco Presents the Holiday Art Fair Café
Overture’s in-house caterers, Catering a Fresco, will sell treats and light lunches during fair hours on Saturday and Sunday, as well as beverages on Friday evening. The Holiday Art Fair Café will be located on the second floor of Overture Center. The Café menu includes assorted scones; grilled cheese sandwiches and turkey wraps; tomato soup; fresh salads; fruit and cheese plates; and brownies, bars, and other tempting deserts.

The 2011 Holiday Art Fair is sponsored by Custer Financial Services/LFA, along with The Century House; Neckerman Insurance Services; Summit Credit Union; Think Ink & Design; Yahara Bay Distillers; and media sponsors Madison Magazine; Magic 98; and Wisconsin Public Radio.

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