Art Fair on the Square Returns for Year 58

Posted by Laura Kocum on Wednesday, July 6th, 2016 at 9:54am.

This weekend, more than 200,000 people with head downtown, and enjoy browsing and buying fine art. The 58th annual Art Fair on the Square is run by the Madison Museum of Contemporary Art (MMOCA), and is a successful fundraiser for the museum. The Art Fair is well-respected and has earned a national following. More than 1,400 artists compete for the coveted 458 available spots on the Capitol Square. Artists are selected by a jury process, and categories are broad (The online resource guide includes ceramics, digital art, fibers/leather, furniture, glass, jewelry, medal works, mixed media 2-D, painting, photography, sculpture and 3-D mixed media, wood, and print-making, graphics, and drawing).  The vendors will be on all sides of the Capitol Square, and the event runs from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Saturday, and 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Sunday.

This year MMOCA is also including an "EMERGE" block on the 100 block of State Street. This area will be dedicated to newer artists, all who were selected through a jury process. The 10 artists selected for the "EMERGE" block will line the south side of State Street (facing Michelangelo's Coffee House and Ian's Pizza). Visitors to the fair will enjoy the large selection, along with entertainment venues, a children's area and a variety of refreshment stands. 

In addition to the events on the square, a selection of Wisconsin-based artists will have exhibits along Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard, stretching to Monona Terrace. This Art Fair Off the Square is managed by the Wisconsin Alliance of Artists and Craftspeople, and follows the same hours as the other events. Visitors will enjoy the local flavor and high end art created by Wisconsin artists.


If you go, there are a few details you'll want to know:

  1. Refreshments are cash-only, but most artists accept credit cards for purchases. 
  2. Event parking in the surrounding garages will be at a special rate: $5 for the day. 
  3. Entrance to the Art Fair on the Square is free. 
  4. The fair is on unless the weather is dangerous. The State Capitol Building and City/County Buildings are storm shelters in an emergency. 
  5. Road construction on the Square is complete! All roads are paved, and should make for an enjoyable walk.
  6. The popular Dane County Farmer's Market relocates to Wilson Street (off of Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard) during the Art Fair.
  7. No pets are allowed. In 2010 the Madison Common Council banned animals from street events, including Art Fair on the Square.

Enjoy all that Madison has to offer, especially the fine art that only comes to town once each year!

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