Press Releases

Date of Release: 
Thursday, February 18, 2016
Contact Info: 

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

25 Years of Service and Leadership

25 Years of Service and Leadership

Marking Anniversary and Impact of Stephen Fleischman,
Director of the Madison Museum of Contemporary Art

1991 through 2016

MADISON, WI—When he assumed the leadership of an established, yet promising, arts organization, few would have anticipated that in 25 years Stephen Fleischman would lead this organization to become a world-class arts destination; housed in an iconic building designed by the great architect Cesar Pelli; and a major asset to not just Madison, but to the region. Museum supporters, local leaders, and the community are celebrating all that been accomplished and achieved during the tenure of Stephen Fleischman as director of the Madison Museum of Contemporary Art (MMoCA).

Under Fleischman’s direction, the Madison Museum of Contemporary Art has deepened its engagement with the community, elevated its exhibitions, and expanded its programming. As director, Fleischman:

  • Orchestrated the move from a converted Montgomery Ward Department Store to new, purpose-designed home. Made possible by a gift from W. Jerome Frautschi the iconic building has nearly double the gallery space, a dedicated multimedia gallery, classroom, and a lecture hall.
  • Expanded the museum’s Permanent Collection from nearly 4,600 to over 5,500 works of art currently, including two very recent additions:
    • Ellsworth Kelly, Blue Gray Green Red, 2008. Lithograph, 48 x 130 inches.
    • Frank Stella, Port aux Basques, from Newfoundland Series, 1971. Lithograph and screenprint on Special Arjomari paper, 38 x 70 inches.
  • Enhanced the museum’s oldest fundraiser and beloved community event, the Art Fair on the Square. In addition to providing free access to MMoCA exhibitions and educational programs, this event draws approximately 200,000 attendees to downtown Madison and infuses $25 million into the local economy each year.
  • Saw annual visitors to the museum nearly double, topping 190,000 currently.
  • Provided the leadership and vision that continued free admission to the museum following the global economic downturn that occurred just after completion of the new building.
  • Increased support of the museum from a $750,000 budget in 1990-91 to $2.27 million currently.
  • Supported the significant expansion of the museum's educational programs, including Art Cart, which now serves much of Dane County; the School Tour and Art on Tour programs, which provide thousands of school-age students with access to visual art at the museum and in their schools; a tripling of the number of volunteer docents who lead guided exhibition tours; and development of ArtZone, an after-school program serving youth from Madison-area neighborhood and community centers.
  • Led MMoCA to be a respected publisher of art books and catalogues.
  • Arranged for exhibitions by regionally, nationally, and internationally known artists in all media, such as Ellsworth Kelly, Chuck Close, and most recently Frank Stella.
  • Created travelling exhibitions organized by MMoCA.

The impact of Stephen Fleischman’s tenure as director of the Madison Museum of Contemporary Art will be felt by residents of and visitors to Madison for generations.


Housed in a soaring, Cesar Pelli designed building, the Madison Museum of Contemporary Art provides free exhibitions and education programs that engage people in modern and contemporary art. The galleries offer changing exhibitions that feature established and emerging artists. The Rooftop Sculpture Garden provides an urban oasis with an incredible view. The museum is open: Tuesday–Thursday: noon – 5pm; Friday: noon – 8pm; Saturday: 10am – 8pm; Sunday: noon – 5pm; and is closed on Mondays.

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