Press Releases

Date of Release: 
Wednesday, June 17, 2015
Contact Info: 

Erika Monroe-Kane, Director of Communications
608.257.0158 x 237 or

Art’s Biggest Weekend, Details Announced

Art’s Biggest Weekend, Details Announced

MMoCA’s Art Fair on the Square Returns with New and Favorite ArtistsSaturday, July 11 (9 am–6 pm)
Sunday, July 12 (10 am–5 pm)

It isn’t just big, it is also important.

The Art Fair on the Square will return to the Capitol Square, buoying the economy of Madison, presenting artists, and one of the most dynamic cultural organizations in Wisconsin.

Beloved by the Madison community, drawing people from across the region, generating nearly $25 million for the local economy and elevating art; the Madison Museum of Contemporary Art (MMoCA) presents this major event each year.

This year, Art Fair on the Square will showcase the work of nearly 500 artists, displaying original fine art and craft, handmade clothing, original photography, jewelry, and much more. Nearly 200,000 patrons are expected to visit the booths, as well as the additional attractions of music, entertainment, international cuisine, and locally-sourced fare, set against the lovely backdrop of the State Capitol.
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 Source Book. Hours for this year’s fair are: Saturday, July 11 (9 am-6 pm) and Sunday, July 12 (10 am-5 pm).

As MMoCA’s most important annual fundraiser, Art Fair on the Square is the largest event produced by the museum and it generates financial support for the museum’s free exhibitions and education programs. MMoCA is the oldest cultural organization in Madison and this event has been enjoyed for 57 years.

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 mainly come from across the United States, yet two exhibitors hail from Canada- and this year one artist will be coming from Argentina. Nearly 20 percent of participating artists will be exhibiting at the fair for the first time.
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 thirteen categories.

Featured Artist
Angie Pickman, from Lawrence, KS, is a nationally-recognized, cut-paper artist who combines traditional paper cutting with collage to create intricate art and animation. MMoCA selected Pickman as the 2015 Featured Artist, and images of her work, Summer Song, are being used to draw interest in the Art Fair.

Pickman was moved to learn the art of paper cutting in 2003 after seeing The Adventures of Prince Achmed – a cut paper stop-motion silhouette animation from 1926 by Lotte Reiniger. She knew from a very young age that being an artist was her life’s calling, but it took her some time to figure out in which medium this would manifest itself. The traditional forms of artwork taught in school never felt quite right, but when she saw Lotte’s work, something clicked. Pickman, says, “I picked up my craft knife and black paper and never looked back.” “My life philosophy revolves around achieving simplicity, winnowing away at all the things that are not needed so that the individual can be reduced to the rawest, purest being possible. Cutting paper is metaphorical for this – the cutting away of all that is unnecessary to reveal the subject in a simple, bold form.” Summer Song, the featured artwork, will be on display in the silent auction tent over the weekend of the fair.

Art Fair Extras
Art Fair on the Square truly offers something for everyone, with four performance stages; cuisines ranging from Asian dumplings, Greek gyros, and Mediterranean sandwiches, to Wisconsin brats and beer, as well as vegetarian and gluten-free 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 Angie Pickman’s Summer Song and other works at the Silent Auction Tent. Located at the Wisconsin Avenue intersection of the Capitol Square and a long-standing project of MMoCA Volunteers, the tent features donated works from hundreds of exhibiting artists and all proceeds directly support MMoCA. 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.
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 refreshment and relaxation in a stylish setting where members can rest out of the sun, enjoy a massage and a cool drink, and check 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 Kids Area

Located at the King Street corner of the Capitol Square, MMoCA invites families to drop by and enjoy games and art projects galore. This year, activities will include garden art, beading, animal mask making, a mixed media magnet project, screen-printing, coloring, button jewelry making, and more.
A related note: While kids are quite welcome at Art Fair on the Square, the Madison Common Council bans dogs at the fair and at the city’s other major street events.

A Weekend of Music and Performance

Fans of 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 such as the Radio Hour’s Chicago Acoustic Showcase, and local favorites such as Madison Contemporary Vision Dance. 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 seating area on the Capitol Steps at North Hamilton Street. The student stage at East Washington Avenue will showcase the talent of young classical musicians all weekend.


To date, generous support for Art Fair on the Square has been provided by MINI of Madison, American Transmission Company, Habush Habush & Rottier S.C.®, Pepsi Cola of Madison, Wildwood Productions, Artful Home, Associated Bank, Dines Incorporated, Domain Apartments, Ho-Chunk Gaming Madison, On the Avenue Marketing, Whole Foods, Wisconsin Lottery, The Century House, Aveda Institute Madison, Econoprint, Powerkeg Web Design, Madison Magazine, Isthmus, Magic 98, Wisconsin Public Radio, Wisconsin State Journal, and WKOW TV.

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