From Nov. 18-19, the Madison Museum of Contemporary Art (MMoCA) will host its 47th annual Art and Gift Fair.
The event allows local and regional artists to concentrate their talents and also acts as the second largest fundraiser for the museum.
General admission tickets are $6 for adults, and children 12 years and younger enter for free. Such costs help keep regular museum admission free, and also funds other educational programs that the museum sponsors.
“The MMoCA Art and Gift Fair is unique in the sense that it is juried in the same way that the Art Fair on the Square is,” Erika Monroe-Kane said, the museum’s Director of Communications.
The event features a large variety of pieces and products to choose from. Ranging from high-quality work produced by skilled artists to a gourmet gallery, you cannot go wrong.
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Monroe-Kane remarks on one honey purveyor specifically that brings in honey that has been captured locally at different times of the year. The taste of the honey changes depending on what season it is from, according to Monroe-Kane.
While one purpose of the Fair is to provide an opportunity for holiday gift purchasing, according to Monroe-Kane, many purchases are more than just gifts. Through a connection made between vendors and purchasers, the gift givers “have an experience and a story to tell” to the receivers.
The planning process for such an event is no small task.
“We work on [this event] for more than a year because it takes quite a bit of time to contact all of the artists so they are informed that the application process is available,” Monroe-Kane said. However, when it comes down to it, the last few months are “very intensive” in preparation.
Yet, to maintain inclusivity for all involved, the application process is more of a formality — any artist is welcomed to apply. A jurying process then takes places, which, according to Monroe-Kane, is in place to ensure there is a variety of artistic styles represented at the fair.
According to Annik Dupaty, the museum’s Director of Events, the prices on items range from $4 for a box of locally made chocolates to a $15 candle. Attendees can spend a little more if they are looking to make an investment in their art collection.
In addition to vendors, there are also local performers present at the fair. Most of the performers are local bands, companies and musicians, Dupaty said. In fact, there is no performer from outside of Dane County, she recalls. Keeping the performances local is a unique part of the fair.
Dupaty also discussed the Rediscovered Treasures and Art Sale, something she compares to an “estate sale” held at the museum. This will be held on the lower level of the building, where community members can bring past treasures to be resold. Items they call “once loved” can now be loved by someone new.
A silent auction will also be held on this level, where participating artists donate their own pieces of art and all proceeds go to the museum itself. Since the auction features artwork from the artists at the fair, it acts a preview of what’s to come, according to Dupaty.
Separately, attendees can purchase reservations for the reception as a way of “elevating the art fair experience.” Taking place on the evening of Nov. 18, there will be sweet and savory treats available from the Fresco Rooftop restaurant, shopping of the MMoCA Art and Gift Fair and a lobby holiday lighting reception in tune with the lighting of State Street and Capitol Square.
“The view we have on State Street is unsurpassed. If it happens to be snowing, it’s going to amazing,” Monroe-Kane.
This ultimately makes the MMoCA the ideal place to be when the holiday lights turn on outside and in the museum. At 6:08 p.m., referencing Madison’s area code, the lighting ceremony is a celebration of downtown Madison and all of its wonderful offerings in the winter time, Dupaty said.
In addition to the fair and vendors, there will be holiday selfie booths available, a designer vignette to give advice on placement of art in buyers’ homes and the Wisconsin Chamber Orchestra attending Saturday morning to participate in children’s art projects and perform on the Rotunda Stage. Additionally, characters from the Madison Ballet will be in costume roaming the halls.
Overall, the event’s variety has proven to have something available to everyone.
“You get to taste chocolates, you get to taste cheeses, you’ll hear music, you’ll sample beverages, you’ll see all kinds of beautiful and interesting things inside,” Monroe-Kane said.
More information can be found at MMoCA’s website, and attendees can purchase tickets at a reduced price prior to the event.