Love it or not, Bucky on Parade got us talking

Public art is slowly emerging throughout the city
Love it or not, Bucky on Parade got us talking

When the Madison Area Sports Commission and Greater Madison Convention & Visitors Bureau unveiled 85 artist-decorated Bucky Badger statues throughout the Madison area in May, they sparked a conversation about what outdoor public art could and should look like.

A mural scene is slowly but surely emerging across the city. Leading the way is Williamson Street – from an ode to Otis Redding at Solidarity Realty and the hands spelling “LOVE” at Plan B to Stefan Matioc’s line-drawing faces at Banzo and the regularly changing imagery at Mother Fool’s Coffeehouse.

The Monona Drive area also boasts an eclectic collection of outdoor illustrations. Meanwhile, newcomers include a colorful grid on the blink-and-you’ll-miss-it side of a Winnebago Street building, and this summer, two sets of fluttery pink flamingo wings on the side of the Wisconsin Historical Museum on the Square.

But perhaps the most exciting murals are coming out of projects that are engaging local youth and building community. Dane Arts Mural Arts, or DAMA, gets students involved in art-making, and their work graces schools across the city as well as the Goodman Community Center, Trinity Lutheran Church, the Social Justice Center and Black Earth Children’s Museum. And the Madison Public Library’s new Madison Mural Alley is set to beautify space behind the Madison East Shopping Center.