Press Releases

Date of Release: 
Wednesday, March 1, 2006
Contact Info: 

Sara Mayer, Communications & Public Relations Coordinator Greater Madison Convention & Visitors Bureau 608.441.3958·

Katie Kazan, Director of Public Information Madison Museum of Contemporary Art 608.257.0158 x237·

MMoCA at a Glance

MMoCA at a Glance A Quick Guide to the Madison Museum of Contemporary Art


The Madison Museum of Contemporary Art is one of the cityís oldest cultural organizations. Established as the Madison Art Association in 1901, the organization presented education programs and exhibitions in borrowed spaces. In 1964, the organization leased the old Lincoln School on Lake Mendota and merged with the Madison Art Foundation to become the Madison Art Center. In 1980, the Madison Art Center moved into the Madison Civic Center, where it continued to organize and present ambitious exhibitions. In 2003, the Art Centerís name was changed to the Madison Museum of Contemporary Art (MMoCA) to more accurately reflect the museumís ongoing mission.


The museum will open in its new home in Overture Center for the Arts on April 23, 2006. This stunning facility was made possible by the extraordinary generosity of W. Jerome Frautschi, a long-time friend of the arts in Madison and former board member of the museum. Overture Center, including the museumís new home, was designed by world-renowned architect Cesar Pelli.

MMoCAís new home is an elegant and highly functional space for the study and presentation of modern and contemporary art. It encompasses 51,500 square feet of interior space, including highly flexible gallery space. Also included are a 230-seat lecture hall; a childrenís classroom; a study center for drawings, prints, and photographs; a greatly expanded Museum Store; and a rooftop restaurant and sculpture garden.


The museumís permanent collection includes nearly 5,000 works of art. With a solid core of American prints, photographs, and drawings, the collection also encompasses paintings, sculptures, and other works by some of the most innovative artists of our time. Among the artists represented are Romare Bearden, Deborah Butterfield, Alexander Calder, John Steuart Curry, Frida Kahlo, Jin Soo Kim, Louise Nevelson, Jim Nutt, Claes Oldenburg, Ed Paschke, and John Wilde. A rotating selection of these works will be on view on a continuing basis in the museumís Henry Street Gallery.


The museum offers an average of ten significant and distinctive exhibitions annually. Exhibitions have featured modern masters such as Frank Lloyd Wright and Georgia OíKeeffe, as well as emerging artists such as Brad Kahlhamer and Martin Kersels. Major exhibitions organized by the museum have traveled to museums throughout the nation. The museumís opening exhibition in its new facility, Between the Lakes: Artists Respond to Madison, marks the cityís sesquicentennial with major commissioned works by seven noted artists. Using film, photography, natural materials, and painting, these artists will focus on the city: its history, its culture, and its people. Additional major shows in 2006 are Chuck Close Prints: Process and Collaboration and LeWitt x 2.

Education Programs

The museumís Education Department offers innovative programs for adults and children designed to illuminate the work on view and to place contemporary art in a vibrant and meaningful context. Adult programs include lectures, Gallery Talks, and independent films. Childrenís programs include ArtPacks, ArtZone, Art on Tour, and Art Cart (in collaboration with Madison School and Community Recreation).

Special Programs and Events

First Fridays at MMoCA, a monthly cocktails-and-culture open house, features live music, films, workshops, and a cash bar. Art Fair on the Square is the museumís major annual fundraiser, attracting nearly 200,000 visitors to Madisonís Capitol Square each July. The Arts Ball is an annual black-tie fundraiser organized in support of MMoCA and the Madison Symphony Orchestra. Gallery Night, a biannual showcase event for Madisonís vibrant visual arts scene, is organized by MMoCA each spring and fall.

Funding and Membership

As a free-admission museum, MMoCA relies on individuals, corporations, and foundations for necessary financial support. Key support is also provided by the museumís Business Council, Langer Society, and general membership. MMoCA members enjoy a variety of benefits, including free admission to opening receptions, a quarterly newsletter detailing upcoming events, and discounts in the Museum Store. Annual memberships start at $40.

Volunteer Opportunities

MMoCAís docent program provides interested volunteers with a twelve-week training course in art history and tour techniques. The Art League assists the museum with education, service, and fundraising support by sponsoring museum programs and special events. Art Partner events provide fun, social settings to engage with contemporary art. Additional volunteer opportunities focus on visitor services, garden maintenance, special events, and office support.

MMoCA Online

The museumís website, at, includes information about exhibitions, events, and education programs. In addition, the museumís online exhibition, Modern Art / Contemporary Art / MMoCA Collects ( highlights a selection of works from the museumís permanent collection.

Museum Store

The award-winning Museum Store, with entrances from State Street, the museum, and the Overture Crossroads, is approximately double its former size. The store will continue to offer shoppers its signature selection of unique objects, gifts, and jewelry designed and made by artists, while expanding its inventory of books, art supplies, and childrenís merchandise. Shoppers will also be able to choose from a wider array of distinctive contemporary merchandise that exemplifies excellent design.


The Madison Museum of Contemporary Art strives to make its exhibitions, lectures, tours, and special events accessible to all. Please contact the museum at 608.257.0158 regarding special accommodations for persons with limited mobility, sight, or hearing. Relay service is available by dialing AT&T @ 711.

Admission and Location

The Madison Museum of Contemporary Art is free and open to the public. The museumís new facility is located two blocks from the State Capitol in the Overture Center for the Arts. The museum is accessible to individuals with disabilities, and is conveniently located near two public parking ramps.

Museum and Offices

227 State Street Madison, WI 53703 Tel/Museum 608.257.0158 Tel/Museum Store 608.257.3222 Fax 608.257.5722

Museum and Store Hours

Monday: closed Tuesday-Wednesday: 11:00 a.m.ñ 5:00 p.m. Thursday-Friday: 11:00 a.m.ñ 8:00 p.m. Saturday: 10:00 a.m.ñ 8:00 p.m. Sunday: Noonñ 5:00 p.m.

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