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Art Fair good business for Madison area

200,000 expected to converge on Capitol Square for annual event

MADISON, Wis. - Madison's Capitol Square was a busy place Saturday, and should be on Sunday as well.

Overall, 200,000 people are expected to hit downtown for this weekend's Art Fair on the Square.

The event is a fundraiser for the Madison Museum of Contemporary Art, but overall the two-day event brings in about $25 million to the Madison area.

South Carolina-based print maker Kent Ambler is one of more than 450 artists showcasing their work at the 55th annual event.

"I think people enjoy meeting the artist in person," said Ambler. "You go to a gallery, and you don't know anything about the person, you don't get to talk to them."

As one of this year's featured artists, Ambler's wood block print of "James Madison Badger" will be seen all over the Capitol Square.


"James Madison Badger" depicts a badger gazing over the Wisconsin State Capitol and is featured on this year's Art Fair on the Square posters, t-shirts, and other event-related materials.

"He (Ambler) has a very dynamic style with a lot of detail," said Erika Monroe-Kane, director of communications for the Madison Museum of Contemporary Art. "And when you ask them to create a piece for the Art Fair on the Square, you don't know what you'll get and he went with a more whimsical approach for 'James Madison Badger.'"

Monroe-Kane said the money raised over the weekend helps the museum continue to bring art to the masses with free admission everyday.

"There's art from all over the country, there are a number of artists from Wisconsin and Madison represented," said Monroe-Kane. "There's a wide range of high quality art and crafts that people can look around and find something they love."

Ambler has been a professional artist since 1997, and bringing his pieces to shows like Art Fair on the Square is how he makes his living.

He's hoping to sell at least 50 of his wood block prints.

"People understand you're only here for two days and you hope to buy something," said Ambler.

More than 300 volunteers help pull off the Art Fair on the Square, and the event continues Sunday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on the Capitol Square.

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