Arts and Culture

First annual Makeshift food and arts festival at Olbrich Park, Aug. 20

Madison-area artists and restaurants featured

If there are three things Madisonians love, it’s food, art and the outdoors. The Makeshift Festival, debuting on Aug. 20, will offer all that and more. Makeshift is helmed by organizers of the Underground Food Collective and Yum Yum Fest, so the new day-long celebration has a fine pedigree.

Makeshift will bring some of Midwest’s finest artistic and culinary talents to Olbrich Park. Sixteen restaurants and food collectives—including Tornado Steak House and Forequarter Restaurant in Madison,  Pilot Light in Chicgo and Minnesota Spoon from Minneapolis—will serving innovative dishes from their booths amidst art installations by local and regional independent artists.

“We believe that taking chefs out of the restaurant and artists out of the gallery can create inspiring results,” organizer Bob Hemauer says. “There's a really strong gallery and museum scene in town, but we feel like there's space for this sort of informal, ephemeral public art. Combining it with some of the best food and drink in the Midwest will really give folks an experience unlike anything else in Madison.”

Although the inaugural Makeshift Festival is set to be held at Olbrich Park on the northeast side of Lake Monona, Hemauer says he's like to see it held in a different park—in a different part of the city—each year.

“Madison has a world-class park system," says Hemauer, citing Madison's top 10 ranking of "best park systems" by the Trust for Public Lands in May.

“The reality is that we drive by or walk through parks everyday, and it's easy to take them for granted. So we're hoping that creating this beautiful, immersive public art experience that happens in a different park every year will help folks create new memories and see new value in our public land," Hemauer says.

As a member of the Madison Park Foundation, Hemauer also hopes that Makeshift’s effort in advocating for public spaces will come to benefit Madison’s underserved communities.

“I feel strongly that as Madison struggles with issues of equity, our parks are not a luxury,” Hemauer added. “They have a vital role to play in improving quality of life for people regardless of socioeconomic background.”

All proceeds from the festival will go to the Madison Park Foundation to help maintain and support local public parks.

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