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[ Art Fair on the Square ] [ Art Fair Off the Square ]
The Art Fair On The Square and The Art Fair Off The Square are the two largest cultural events in Madison Wisconsin. They are on the second weekend of July and have been going on for quite a few years. The combined art fairs are among the largest and highest ranked in the Midwest. The Art Fair on the Square has a very high ranking in the artists guidebook "Sunshine". The Art Fair Off The Square started, when because of the commercial success of the Art Fair 'On' many Wisconsin artists were left out...since it seemed the organizers wanted to give a more nationwide feel to the show ...This Art Fair Off the Square eventually led to the forming of the Wisconsin Alliance of Artists and Craftspeople. For a long time there was some animosity between the two groups which has lessened greatly in later years. Many Wisconsin artists now exhibit one year in one show and another in the other. Both shows are juried by a panels of judges to very high standards to gain entry. Between both shows there are I think around 600 or so artists and high sales volume and very varied and generally great art across the board.
So these are my impressions of the shows. I had to walk a long way to get there...and a long way around. Figured about Six miles. The parking is gone by 7am, 2 hours before the show. There are a lot of people, maybe 250,000 or more. Other years usually it's hot...sometimes stormy. One year customers were helping artists hold down their displays in a tornado warning with very high winds...with sirens going and many patrons running for safety at the State Capitol Building. I took impressions of anything and everything I saw, figuring it was the closest a person could come to try and get the 'feel' of it all. Not photos of the art. I don't like doing that...it's someone else's. But the food, the entertainment, the buildings, the artist's tents, the colors, mostly the crowds and the people. I'm not used to walking much anymore, my feet were sore. Funny thing...I hardly even realized I had my camera with me although I took over 300 shots. It's quite an event.