65 Madison venues transform into pop-up art galleries for Gallery Night

We pulled out 10 interesting shows to check out
65 Madison venues transform into pop-up art galleries for Gallery Night
Photo by Tom Klingele/MMoCA
Madisonians can wander around the city Friday night for a fresh look at area businesses-turned-galleries and work by local artists.

This Friday, 65 venues around Madison, from coffee shops to dentist offices, will transform into art galleries, coloring the city with vibrant displays.

The Madison Museum of Contemporary Art celebrates 30 years of its Gallery Night event with three hours of gallery walks throughout the city. MMoCA’s Development Officer Kaitlin Kropp, who organized this year’s event, said Gallery Night allows locals who don’t consider themselves “art people” to “dip their toes” into the culture Madison has to offer.

“There’s a really great diversity of venues participating,” Kropp said. “It’s really just a great opportunity to get out on the town, to explore new businesses … and just connect with modern and contemporary art and local artists in a really accessible way.”

The event has grown exponentially since its first evening in 1988, which featured only six art venues and five restaurant partners. These spots were just a few blocks away from each other on State Street, but, in 2018, venues stretch from the Allen Centennial Garden to The Gallery at Access Wisconsin in Waunakee.

Kropp said several venues will feature live music and refreshments, as well as artist demonstrations. Many of the artists will be around to discuss their work, and each venue will have a unique display with its own artist and exhibit.

The fun won’t stop once the clock strikes 9 p.m. To celebrate 30 years of Gallery Night, an after-party will be hosted at MMoCA, complete with Roman Candle Pizza, music from DJ Millbot and hands-on arts activities.

“For MMoCA, it’s an opportunity to celebrate the area’s vibrant arts scene and building an awareness of everything that Madison has to offer and all the local businesses that are very supportive of local artists,” Kropp said.

Here’s a handful of the interesting places to catch art this Friday, starting at 5 p.m.:

Calming Grounds Wellness Center
Calming Grounds, a mental wellness facility offering services like yoga and acupuncture, will exhibit visual art as “the art of healing.” Four local artists will be featured: wood furniture made by Josh Kanidko, 2D and 3D paper arts by Terri Messinides, fiber arts by Maren Anderson and ceramics by Kira Milanich. Light refreshments will be served.

The hip, crafty gift store featuring Wisconsin and feminist-themed crafts will celebrate their grand re-opening of its new State Street space with a Gallery Night display. They’ll sell and display works from more than 100 regional makers.

Madison Senior Center
The center promotes successful aging through “engagement with life,” and how else to engage others than by creating art? Madison Senior Center’s Gallery Night exhibit will feature works by local artists aged 55 and over.

Working Draft Beer Company
Madison-based photographer Chris Klinge will hang around the taproom, inviting you into the small scenes he photographs. Visitors can also craft their own coasters (to set your beer on right then and there) with Chroma Press.

The best way to see art is through new lenses. Catch the grand eyewear sale for new frames to glimpse visual art by Gary Scott and photography by Javier Guerrero displayed at the shop.

Graduate Hotel Madison
Graduate Hotels appear in university towns around the country, and one special thing about Madison’s location is the vibrant arts scene in the college community. To celebrate this, the off-State hotel will feature a Local Art Series, with an opening reception artist talk at 6:15 p.m. featuring multimedia artist Adriana Barrios.

Monroe Street Family Dental
For once, you won’t be afraid of the dentist. Local illustrator Emily Balsley’s print series “100 Animals in Hats” will be displayed along with original works by Edgewood College Cutting Edge program student Kathleen Coogan.

Memorial Union
Just in time for the weather to become too cold to enjoy the natural sights of the Terrace, two galleries will pop up on Gallery Night in the Main and Class of 1925 Galleries. Paul Bunyan Murals will return, and Wheelhouse Studios will celebrate LatinX culture through a Brazilian samba performance, a mini-dance classe, hands-on crafting of traditional Guatemalan worry dolls and a display by the UW Latinx Heritage Month Committee.

Lauer Realty Group
Get an idea of how to decorate your new home, or find that home, by checking out Connie Morrison’s works combining painting and collage, along with cheerful acrylic paintings by Steve Swagerie at Lauer Realty Group on Atwood Ave.

Wisconsin Council of the Blind & Visually Impaired
Explore visual art pieces by local makers who are blind or visually impaired, and engage all the senses with gallery talks with featured artists, refreshments and live music.

For the full list of venues visit the Gallery Night website.

Sammy Gibbons is an editorial intern at Madison Magazine.