Press Releases

Date of Release: 
Wednesday, June 14, 2017
Contact Info: 

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

MMoCA’s Art Fair on the Square Returns with New and Favorite Artists

Details Unveiled for Madison’s Favorite Art Event

MMoCA’s Art Fair on the Square Returns with New and Favorite Artists

Saturday, July 8 (9 am–6 pm)
Sunday, July 9 (10 am–5 pm)

For 58 years, crowds have flocked to Art Fair on the Square, the Madison Museum of Contemporary Art’s biggest fundraising event. In addition to supporting the artists around the Square, visitors to this event are also helping provide free access to fine art and the transformative power of art-making, as this weekend-long event supports the museum’s programs year-round.

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 8 (9 am-6 pm) and Sunday, July 9 (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 mainly come from across the United States, yet four exhibitors will be coming from Ontario, Canada. Over 15 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
MMoCA named Jeff Condon, a Michigan based artist, the 2017 Art Fair on the Square Featured Artist. Condon lives in Grand Rapids with his family, and in addition to art making, Condon enjoys gardening, renovating historic homes and making what was once discarded, beautiful.

The 2017 featured artwork, “Water for a Thirsty Land,” is part of a group of drawings and paintings that reflect Condon’s enjoyment and delight of color, pattern and memory, which he, “…mixed up in a vintage bowl once used for potato salad and spilled out as fresh landscapes.” The patterns in Condon’s paintings stitch together things he sees in the land and in objects around him. For example, on a trip to a museum Condon saw a Chippewa bead pattern that ended up on a hillside drawing. His work is as much about the intersection of old and new, line and pattern, color and form as it is about a beautiful landscape.

Water for a Thirsty Land, 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 an emerging artist block; three performance stages; foods ranging from Door County cherry salad, empanadas, 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 also bid on works from hundreds of participating artists at the Silent Auction Tent.

The Emerge Block

In 2016, MMoCA created a new way to support and encourage the next generation of artists. Launched at last year’s 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 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 Jeff Condon’s Water for a Thirsty Land 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 American Transmission Company 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.

Saturday, July 8

9:30 - 11:30    Create a landscape inspired by featured artist Jeff Condon

12:00 – 2:00   Felt finger puppets

2:30 - 4:30      Fairy house building

5:00 – 6:00     Upcycled bookmarks

All Day Temporary tattoos and coloring sheets.


Sunday, July 9

10:15 - 12:15 Screen printing

12:30 - 2:30    Yarn art

3:00 – 4:00     Button and bead jewelry

All Day Temporary tattoos and coloring sheets.


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.

Performances / Saturday, July 8


Wisconsin Public Radio Stage

State Street and the Capitol Square

9:00 - 10:00    Sweet Potato Band

10:30 - 11:30  Mad City Jug Band

12:00 - 1:00    Mideast Salsa

1:30 - 2:30      No Name String Band

3:00 - 4:00      Jessica Lyn


Magic 98 Stage

Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard

9:30 - 10:30    Ryan Mauer and the Angry Fix

11:00 - 12:00  The Earthlings

12:30 - 1:30    The Radio Hour

2:00 - 3:00      Mr. Burgundy

5:00 - 6:00      Stone Barone and the Mad Tones


Habush Habush & Rottier S.C. Performing Arts Stage

Capitol Steps at North Hamilton Street

10:30 - 11:30  Midwest Performing Arts - Youth Performance Groups

12:00 - 1:00    Madison Contemporary Vision Dance

1:30 - 2:30      Kehl School of Dance

3:00 - 4:00      Kanopy Dance and Friends


Performances / Sunday, July 9


Wisconsin Public Radio Stage

State Street and the Capitol Square

10:00 - 11:00  Matt Hannah

11:30 - 12:30 The Druthers

1:00 - 2:00      Down from the Hills

2:30 - 3:30      Mad City Funk

4:00 - 5:00      Panchromatic Steel


Magic 98 Stage

Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard

10:00 - 11:00  All That Jazz

11:30 - 12:30  Redeye

1:00 - 2:00      Patchouli & Terra Guitarra

2:30 - 3:30      Lake Harvest

4:00 - 5:00      East Wash Jukes


Habush Habush & Rottier S.C. Performing Arts Stage

Capitol Steps at North Hamilton Street

11:30 - 12:30 Monona Academy of Dance/Dance Wisconsin

1:00 - 2:00      Fred Astaire Madison Dancers

2:30 - 3:30      Trinity Irish Dance (performance and free dance lesson)

4:00 - 5:00      Studio Dansu



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, Dane County Regional Airport, Ganser Company, Ho-Chunk Gaming Madison, Lundberg Family Farms, Waunakee Remodeling, Wisconsin Lottery, Greater Madison Convention & Visitors Bureau, DoubleTree by Hilton Madison; Madison Magazine, Isthmus, Magic 98, Wisconsin Public Radio, Wisconsin State Journal, and WKOW TV.

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