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MMoCA’s Annual Art Fair on the Square Returns July 8-9, 2023

aerial view of Art Fair on the Square
Photo by Maurice Thaler.

Art Fair on the Square is an Admission-Free Visual Arts Showcase on Capitol Square in Madison, Wisconsin

MADISON, WI—The Madison Museum of Contemporary Art (MMoCA) will host the 65th annual Art Fair on the Square around the city’s Capitol Square on July 8-9, 2023. The Art Fair showcases the work of more than 400 artists from around the country, featuring everything from grand sculptures to delicate contemporary jewelry, handmade furniture, inspired ceramics, and vibrant works for the wall.

For more than six decades, Wisconsin residents and people throughout the Midwest have flocked to Art Fair on the Square, MMoCA’s biggest annual fundraising event. The funds raised through the fair help keep the Museum admission free all year long and support world-class exhibitions and educational programming for kids, teens, and adults. Through the Art Fair, MMoCA has helped thousands of professional artists sell and promote their work.

The event draws some 200,000 patrons from around the region and beyond. Live music and dance performances will be featured on three stages all weekend, and visitors can enjoy international cuisine and locally-sourced fare at booths around the Square.

Artists and Artworks

Participation in Art Fair on the Square is competitive, and finalists are accepted through a jury process. Artists selected for the 2023 Art Fair hail from two dozen US states. Many of the participating artists will be exhibiting at the fair for the first time.

The 2023 Jury Panel includes Angélica Contreras, a Madison-based mixed media artist and recipient of the Forward Art Prize in 2020; Todd Johnson, a local artist who is pursuing his BA in Fine Art at UW-Madison; Jennifer Ridley Hanson, a partner at Slatestone Wealth and a longtime supporter of the arts; Sarah J. Stankey, a Madison-based fine artist and Lead Curator at Arts + Literature Laboratory; and Mushka Yurkew, a multidisciplinary artist and performer based in Madison.

Jurors also review the 2023 artists on-site to select Best of Show winners in each of the thirteen categories. The award-winning artists will be invited back to exhibit at the 2024 fair.

Featured Artist

MMoCA selected Greta Sandquist to be the 2023 Art Fair on the Square Featured Artist. The featured artwork, which graces the cover of the Art Fair on the Square program and the collectible T-shirts produced by Wildwood Productions, is titled Edge of the Forest (2023). The original work, in oil and copper leaf on cradled wood panel, will be available for bidding in the Silent Auction Tent at the Art Fair.

In her artist’s statement, Sandquist says, “This series of oil paintings combines two themes I love—nature and people’s faces. My use of metal leaf provides the alchemy that joins these themes. For ages, metal leaf has been used in iconography to draw viewers out of realism and transport them into a new and unimaginable reality.

“Nature, especially wildlife, has been a theme in my work for many years. I have always felt drawn to animals, and I have a desire to connect and get closer. I want to touch the soft fur of the fox, or to feel the near weightlessness of a tiny bird in my hand. Faces and figures also intrigue me. I fell in love with portrait painting at an early age, and I still find it a sheer joy to see a face come alive when I paint the light in the eyes. I love how, with just a few brush strokes, I can portray endless complex emotions with enough strength of expression that the viewer can feel as though they see themselves in that face.”

Sandquist is based in St. Paul, Minnesota. She will be located in Booth 216, at South Carroll Street and West Washington Avenue, at Art Fair on the Square.

What’s On at Art Fair on the Square

Art Fair on the Square truly offers something for everyone, with an emerging artist block; three performance stages; foods ranging from empanadas, fresh salads, and tacos, to cheese curds, brats and beer, fresh squeezed juices and smoothies, as well as vegetarian and gluten-free specialties. There is a weekend-long schedule of entertainment and an art projects area for kids. Shoppers can bid on works from 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.

Emerging Artist and Community Artist Booths

The 100 block of State Street will be dedicated to emerging artists who have been selected to exhibit in the fair by a jury process. The Emerge Block gives skilled, yet developing, artists the much-needed experience of selling and promoting their work to potential lifelong customers.

The 2023 fair also includes invited community artists, located in booths around the Square, who are gaining experience in showing and selling their work at Art Fair on the Square. In advance of the 2024 Art Fair on the Square, MMoCA will be starting a new training program to help community artists build skills in an art fair application process and strategies to promote their work at an art fair.

Silent Auction Tent

Art Fair on the Square shoppers can bid on the featured artwork by Greta Sandquist titled Edge of the Forest, and many 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 many of the exhibiting artists and all proceeds directly support MMoCA’s free programming. A visit to the Silent Auction Tent also lets shoppers sample the variety of works available at the Art Fair and determine their personal list of must-see booths.

The Hooper Foundation Kids Area

Located at the King Street corner of the walkway leading to the Capitol Building, MMoCA invites families to drop by the Kids Area to enjoy free art and craft projects for children of all ages. This year, kids will have the option to create their own artworks inspired by the exhibitions currently on display in MMoCA’s galleries. The Kids Area will be active on Saturday, July 8, 9:15 AM–6 PM and Sunday, July 9, 10:15 AM–5 PM.

Music and Performances

Fans of music and dance will find more reasons to enjoy this year’s Art Fair on the Square. Fairgoers 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 8, 2023

Isthmus State Street Stage

State Street and the Capitol Square
11 AM–12 PM: Julien Kozak
12:30–1:30 PM: Billy Joe and the Affordables: A Billy Joel Tribute
2–3 PM: Steven Meyer
3:30–4:30 PM: Mideast Salsa

Wisconsin Heartland Honda Dealers Stage

Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard
11 AM–12 PM: Son del Atlantico
12:30–1:30 PM: Adem Tesfaye
2–3 PM: Star 67
3:30–4:30 PM: Mad City Funk

Waunakee Remodeling Performing Arts Stage

Capitol Steps at North Hamilton Street
11 AM–12 PM: Madison Professional Dance Center
12:30–1:30 PM: Kehl School of Dance
2–3 PM: Breakthrough Dance Company

Sunday, July 9, 2023

Isthmus State Street Stage

State Street and the Capitol Square
10–11 AM: All That Jazz Big Band
11:30 AM–12:30 PM: Corey Mathew Hart
1-2 PM: Greg Herriges
2:30-3:30 PM: CumbiaCachaca

Wisconsin Heartland Honda Dealers Stage

Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard
10–11 AM: Mad City Jug Band
11:30 AM–12:30 PM: Sortin’ The Mail
1-2 PM: Lily Bethke and The Smoky Nights
2:30-3:30 PM: Kat and the Hurricane

Waunakee Remodeling Performing Arts Stage

Capitol Steps at North Hamilton Street
11:30 AM–12:30 PM: Dansu Dance Company
1:00-2:00 PM:
 Madison Contemporary Dance
2:30-3:30 PM:
 Eric De Los Santos Marimba

Art Fair on the Square
July 8 | 9 AM-6 PM
July 9 | 10 AM-5 PM

Marni McEntee
Director of Communications
Direct: 608.257.0158 ext. 241


About MMoCA

The Madison Museum of Contemporary Art’s galleries are always admission free. Its vision is to be an organization that fosters the exchange of ideas and creates experiences that will inspire a wide audience; be a nexus for the work of emerging and established regional, national, and international artists; serve as a catalyst for the continued development of a vigorous community of artists; and provide a forum that will encourage people to be challenged by, reflect on, and make connections between art and the world around them.

The Museum includes four galleries and The Shop, a space to provide interactive contemporary art experiences and educational workshops to the community. The Museum’s Rooftop Sculpture Garden provides an urban oasis with an incredible view, making it a lovely setting for cinema, weddings and milestone events, and more. Please visit to learn more.