Press Releases

Date of Release: 
Thursday, June 14, 2018
Contact Info: 

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


Details Unveiled for Madison’s Favorite Art Event

Saturday, July 14 • 9 am–6 pm
Sunday, July 15 • 10 am–5 pm

For the last six decades, Wisconsin residents and people throughout the Midwest have flocked to Art Fair on the Square, the Madison Museum of Contemporary Art’s biggest fundraising event. Through the Art Fair on the Square MMoCA has helped thousands of professional artists sell and promote their work. The funds raised through the fair have supported the museum’s free admission policy, as well as free art programs and exhibitions year-round.

Art Fair on the Square began in 1959 as the “Sidewalk Art Show” with 43 artists in the parking lot of the Brookwood Shopping Center at the corner of Midvale Boulevard and the Beltline. The Fair moved to the down­town sidewalks in 1964, and changed its name to Art Fair on the Square in 1977 when the event moved out onto the streets surrounding the Capitol.

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 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 hail from 39 different states in the US and also Ontario, Canada. Over 15 percent of participating artists will be exhibiting at the fair for the first time ever.

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
MMoCA named Justin Marable, a Kansas-based artist, the 2018 Art Fair on the Square Featured Artist. From his studio and home, he creates art in various styles and subjects that span across the vast social landscape. His work is included in various private and public collections nationwide and has appeared in local, regional, and national publications.

The 2018 featured artwork, Primordial Pump, is a serigraph/monoprint produced as a part of a series of prints featuring legendary creatures. In this particular scene, a color-drenched moment of revelation occurs as the true primordial source of fossil fuel is unearthed. With prisms of rainbow magic and star dust defense, prehistoric plant life blooms from the remains of an abandoned gas station. Throughout the series, the Waste Not Mystic unicorn defies impending doom, restores lost beauty, and unlocks magic from within. Primordial Pump will be on display and available for bidding in the silent auction tent located on Wisconsin Avenue at the Capital Square during the fair.

Art Fair Extras

Art Fair on the Square truly offers something for everyone, with an emerging artist block; three performance stages; foods ranging from empanadas and piña coladas served in pineapples, and Mediterranean sandwiches, to Wisconsin brats and beer, as well as vegetarian and gluten-free specialties; and a weekend-long schedule of entertainment and an art projects area for kids. Shoppers can also bid on works from hundreds of participating artists at the Silent Auction Tent, or stop by the Artist & Craftsman Supply tent on State Street to get inspired with art making supplies.

The Emerge Block

Launched at the 2016 Art Fair on the Square, the 100 block of State Street will once again be dedicated to emerging artists who have been selected by a jury process. The Emerge Block will give skilled, yet developing artists the much-needed experience of selling and promoting their work at a major art fair, and will offer fairgoers a look at up-and-coming artists.

Silent Auction Tent

Art Fair on the Square shoppers can bid on Featured Artist Justin Marable’s Primordial Pump, 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.

The Kids Area

Located at the King Street corner of the walkway leading to the Capitol building, MMoCA invites families to drop by the Kid’s Area to enjoy free art and craft projects for children of all ages. This year, activities will include collage landscapes, fairy house building, beading, screen-printing, coloring, jewelry making, and more. Sponsored by American Transmission Company, The Kids Area will be active on Saturday, July 14, 9:15 am–6 pm and Sunday, July 15, 10:15 am–5 pm.

 A Weekend of Music and Performances

Fans of music and dance will find another reason to enjoy this year's Art Fair on the Square. Nearly thirty different groups and individuals will perform at this year's fair, including out-of-town acts and local favorites. Fair-goers can rest and watch performances while enjoying a meal at the food court on Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard, in the seating area at the top of State Street, and on the Capitol Steps at North Hamilton Street.


Saturday, July 14

Wisconsin Public Radio Stage

State Street and the Capitol Square

9:00–10:00  Corey Mathew Hart

10:30–11:30  Mad City Jug Band

12:00–1:00   Panchromatic Steel

1:30–2:30    The Druthers

3:00–4:00  The North Code

4:30–5:30  Bird’s Eye 

Magic 98 Stage

Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard

9:30–10:30    Mideast Salsa

11:00–12:00  The Earthlings

12:30–1:30    The Radio Hour

2:00–3:00      Kirstie Kraus & Thirsty Jones

3:30–4:30      Skylah’s Lyrik

5:00–6:00      Redeye


Habush Habush & Rottier S.C. Performing Arts Stage

Capitol Steps at North Hamilton Street

9:00–10:00  Move Out Loud

10:30–11:30   Trinity Irish Dance

12:00–1:00      Kehl School of Dance

3:00–4:00     Madison Ballet


Sunday, July 15

Wisconsin Public Radio Stage

State Street and the Capitol Square

10:00–11:00  Kivi & Pray

11:30–12:30 Mad City Funk

1:00–2:00      Down from the Hills

2:30–3:30      Bitter Nothings

4:00–5:00      Bosky Point


Magic 98 Stage

Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard

10:00–11:00  All That Jazz Big Band

11:30–12:30  Hypheria

1:00–2:00      German Art Students

2:30–3:30      BingBong

4:00–5:00      Stone Barone & the MadTones


Habush Habush & Rottier S.C. Performing Arts Stage

Capitol Steps at North Hamilton Street

10:00–11:00   Midwest Performing Arts

11:30–12:30   Madison Professional Dance Center

1:00–2:00      Kanopy Dance

2:30–3:30      Madison Contemporary Vision Dance



To date, generous support for Art Fair on the Square has been provided by American Transmission Company, Habush Habush & Rottier S.C.®, Old National Bank, Wildwood Productions, Artful Home, Dane County Regional Airport, Ho-Chunk Gaming Madison, Pepsi Cola of Madison, Waunakee Remodeling, Wisconsin Lottery, Whole Foods Market, Greater Madison Convention & Visitors Bureau, DoubleTree by Hilton Madison; Madison Magazine, Isthmus Publishing, Magic 98, Wisconsin Public Radio, Wisconsin State Journal, and WKOW TV.


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 museum’s four 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 through Thursday, noon–5 pm; Friday, noon–8 pm; Saturday, 10 am–8 pm; Sunday, noon–5 pm; and is closed on Mondays.    

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