Press Releases

Date of Release: 
Monday, June 4, 2012
Contact Info: 

Katie Kazan, Director of Public Information
608.257.0158 x 237 or

Annik Dupaty, Director of Events
608.257.0158 x 230 or

Art Fair on the Square 2012

Art Fair on the Square 2012 
Saturday, July 14 (9 am–6 pm) 
Sunday, July 15 (10 am–5 pm) 

High-resolution images available upon request.

MADISON, WI —­One of the Midwest’s most popular and highly regarded outdoor celebrations of the arts will return to the Capitol Square this summer as the Madison Museum of Contemporary Art (MMoCA) presents the 54th annual Art Fair on the Square. This year’s fair, scheduled for July 14 and 15, will present works by more than 450 artists who create original fine art and craft, handmade clothing, original photography, jewelry, and much more. With the added attractions of music, entertainment, international cuisine, and the beautiful setting of the State Capitol, the fair is expected to attract more than 150,000 shoppers and art lovers to downtown Madison.

Art Fair on the Square continues to be one of the largest art fairs in the Midwest, and is rated among the best fine art shows in North America by artists and by publications such as Sunshine Artist and Art Fair Source­book. As MMoCA’s most important annual fundraiser, the fair provides support for the museum’s free exhibitions and education programs.

Hours for this year’s fair are: Saturday, July 14 (9 am-6 pm) and Sunday, July 15 (10 am-5 pm).

Artists and Artworks

Participation in Art Fair on the Square is highly competitive, with approximately one-in-four applicants accepted through a jury process. Selected artists come from across the country, with one exhibitor hailing from Istanbul. Nearly 20 percent of participating artists will be exhibiting at the fair for the first time.

Jurors for this year’s fair are Teresa Faris (artist and assistant professor in the metals program at the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater); Gary John Gresl (sculptor and four-term president of Wisconsin Visual Arts, Inc.); Georgene Pomplun (painter and commission artist for the 2008 Governor’s Awards); and Tammy Schreiter (painter and owner of Hatch Art House).

In addition to selecting participating artists for this year’s fair, jurors will review artists on-site during the fair to select Best of Show winners in each of twelve categories. This year’s fair features the debut of a new Digital Art category featuring signed, limited-edition works created with the use of a computer and printed on archival materials.  

Among the artists who will return to this year’s fair are 2011 Best of Show winners in ten categories: Jill Bedford (photography); Michael Gard (metal); Keith Grace (2D mixed media); Matthew Hatala (wood); Nicario Jimenez (3D mixed media & sculpture); Frances Kite (jewelry); Phill Singer (painting); Steven Spiro (furniture); Nick Wroblewski (printmaking, graphics, and drawing); and Samuel Yao (fiber).

Featured Artwork

Featuring a winged cow over the Wisconsin State Capitol, Summer Flight by Tennessee-based painter Nathaniel Mather, is the featured artwork of Art Fair on the Square 2012. Like Mather’s other works, the shallow spaces, childlike rendering, and rough-edged patches of color in Summer Flight evoke early-nineteenth-century primitive art. And yet, the work includes what Mather describes as “a rich symbolic allusiveness and playfulness of spirit” that give it a contemporary sophistication and poise. Summer Flight is featured in this year’s Art Fair on the Square posters, t-shirts, and other event-related materials.

Works by Nathanial Mather and all participating artists may be viewed on the museum’s website,; click events/art fair on the square/artists. Images are organized by medium and linked to artists’ websites, when available. The site also shows an Art Fair on the Square map that allows shoppers to locate their favorite artists’ booths in advance of the fair. As always, a program booklet listing participating artists and their locations on the Capitol Square will be bound into the July issue of Madison Magazine; copies of the booklet will also be available at the fair.

Art Fair Extras

Art Fair on the Square truly offers something for everyone, with three performance stages; cuisines ranging from Italian, Greek, and Native American, to brats and root beer, to vegetarian specialties; and a weekend-long schedule of entertainment and art projects for kids. Shoppers can bid on works from hundreds of participating artists at the Silent Auction Tent, and MMoCA members can pause for a cool drink and a massage at the MMoCA Member Oasis.

Silent Auction Tent / Art Fair on the Square shoppers can bid on Nathan Mather’s Summer Flight and other works--while perhaps finding a bargain in the process--at the Silent Auction Tent. Located at the Wisconsin Avenue intersection of the Capitol Square, the tent features donated works from hundreds of exhibiting artists. A visit to the Silent Auction Tent also lets shoppers sample the variety of works available at the fair and determine their personal list of must-see booths.

The Silent Auction Tent is a project of MMoCA Volunteers, the museum’s auxiliary group.

MMoCA Member Oasis / Members of the Madison Museum of Contemporary Art will enjoy a special membership benefit at Art Fair on the Square. The MMoCA Member Oasis, located on East Mifflin Street adjacent to the Silent Auction Tent on Wisconsin Avenue, provides a pleasant setting where members can relax away from the sun, enjoy a massage and a cool drink, and stow packages while they shop.

Shoppers who are not museum members can join on the spot. Memberships support the museum’s free programs and exhibitions throughout the year. The Oasis is sponsored by The Century House and Rejuvenation Spa.

A Robust Kids’ Area / The Kids Area, located at the King Street corner of the Capitol Square, invites families to drop by and enjoy games, contests, and art projects galore. Activities include make-your-own picture frames; screen-printing; art fair coloring sheets; face painting; and temporary tattoos.

A related note: While kids are most welcome at Art Fair on the Square, the Madison Common Council bans dogs at the fair and at most of the city’s other major street events.

A Weekend of Music and Performance / Fans of the music and dance will find another reason to enjoy this year’s Art Fair on the Square. Thirty groups and individuals will perform at this year’s fair, including out-of-town acts and home-town favorites. Visitors can rest and watch performances while enjoying a meal at food courts on State Street and Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard, or at the new seating area on the Capitol Steps at North Hamilton Street.

Performances / Saturday, July 14

Wisconsin Public Radio Stage 
(State Street and the Capitol Square)

9:30 - 10:30     The Awful Purdies
11:00 - 12:00   Et Cetera (FKA Paul + Hannah)
12:30 - 1:30     Abstract Giants
2:00 - 3:00       Silent Agency
3:30 - 4:30      Down From the Hills
5:00 - 6:00       Antony and The Tramps


Triple M Music Stage 
(Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard)

9:30 - 10:30     More Cowbell
11:00 - 12:00   The Full Watts
12:30 - 1:30     DJ Nick Nice
2:00 - 3:00      Twang Dragons
3:30 - 4:30      Canon Ball
5:00 - 6:00      The Locals

Performing Arts Stage 
(Capitol Steps at North Hamilton Street)

9:30 - 10:30     West Bend Dance Tumbling Troupe 
11:00 - 12:00   Kehl School of Dance 
12:30 - 1:30     Madison Contemporary Vision Dance 
2:00 - 3:00       Madison Professional Dance Center 
3:30 - 4:30       Kanopy Dance Co., Sadira and friends 
5:00 - 6:00       Arielle Juliette

Performances / Sunday, July 15

Wisconsin Public Radio Stage 
(State Street and the Capitol Square)

10:00 - 11:00   All That Jazz Big Band
11:30 - 12:30   Jason Horowitz
1:00 - 2:00       Ryan Mauer & The Angry Fix
2:30 - 3:30      Bob Culbertson
4:00 - 5:00      Bob Culbertson

Triple M Music Stage 
(Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard)

10:00 - 11:00   Mideast by Midwest
11:30 - 12:30   The Radio Hour
1:00 - 2:00     Patchouli
2:30 - 3:30     The Sparks Band
4:00 - 5:00     Aaron Williams and the Hoodoo

Performing Arts Stage 
(Capitol Steps at North Hamilton Street)

10:00 - 11:00   Tania Tandias Flamenco & Spanish Dance Company 
11:30 - 12:30   Monona Academy of Dance/Dance Wisconsin 
1:00 - 2:00       Trinity Irish Dancers 
2:30 - 3:30       Accompany of Kids 
4:00 - 5:00       Arielle Juliette


To date, generous support for the 2012 Art Fair on the Square has been provided by American Transmission Company; Badgerland Chevy Dealers; On the Avenue Marketing; Pepsi Cola of Madison; Wildwood Productions; The Wall Street Journal; Ho-Chunk Nation; Associated Bank; The Century House; Dines Incorporated; Rejuvenation Spa; Wisconsin Lottery; Stoddard’s Meat Market & Catering; Madison Magazine; Capital Newspapers; Entercom Madison; Isthmus Publishing Company; Wisconsin Public Radio; and WKOW-TV Madison.


Art Fair on the Square is organized by the Madison Museum of Contemporary Art and is the museum’s most important annual fundraiser. Revenue from the fair supports the museum’s free exhibitions and education programs year round.

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