The M List 2018: Innovation in the Arts

Honoring 30 Madison groups and individuals
The M List 2018: Innovation in the Arts

Cities often recognize the best and brightest. They promote the most influential, the most successful, the most powerful and the most glamorous. Yawn.

Madison is home to a strikingly rich population of innovators, creators, doers and dreamers. They are thinkers and makers driven by curiosity and inspired by beauty. They are entrepreneurs, educators, growers, healers and so much more. And they are artists and performers, writers and players. And together they make up the M List.

This is not a list of the Top or the Best. It’s not the People of the Year. But it is a group of people doing really interesting things in varying ways, and they help make Madison the special place it is. This is the sixth year we’ve published the M List – people you should know, chosen by the editors of Madison Magazine. As always, we enlist some of our friends to offer suggestions. This year that included Brenda Baker, Madison Children’s Museum director of exhibits and an artist in her own right; Mark Fraire, Dane County director of Cultural Affairs and Dane Arts director; Brennan Nardi, Madison Community Foundation communications director and former Madison Magazine editor; Katie Vaughn, UW-Madison senior university relations specialist and former Madison Magazine arts and managing editor; and Karin Wolf, Madison Arts program administrator.

Their help was invaluable. We appreciate the Greater Madison Chamber of Commerce’s partnership and support as well. The 2018 M List recognizes innovators in the arts, who are helping make Madison one of the most innovative and creative cities in America. -NH


Alex Haunty , founder, Alex Haunty’s Theater & Arts Fund Inc.
“Genetic Reflections” public art installation , Angela Johnson and Dr. Ahna Skop, co-collaborators
Arts + Literature Laboratory , Jolynne Roorda and Rita Mae Reese, co-founders

Noteworthy programs under the A+LL umbrella include:​​​​​​ ArtWrite Collective educational programs (Alaura Borealis, director) and CSArt Madison (Noted artists who were involved with CSArt include: Dakota Mace, independent weaver and Faisal Abdu’allah of Teen Bubbler)

Bethany Jurewicz , founder and curator, Visual Edible Audible
Chris Walker , UW-Madison associate professor and artist director of First Wave Hip Hop Theater Ensemble at UW-Madison
UW-Madison Center for the Humanities , Sara Guyer, director

Specific programs recognized are HEX-U, Humanities Without Boundaries and Humanities NOW

Dana Maya , independent poet
Emida and Steve Roller family , artists and writers
Real Life Library (Garrett Lee, Jennifer Smith, Jordan Biagomala and Robert Chantigian)
Jenie Gao , public artist and creative director, Jenie Gao Studio
Jessica Lanius , artistic director and co-founder, Theatre LILA
Metta Monday Creative , Brijetta Hall Waller and Megan Monday, co-founders and producers
Johannes Wallman , musician and director, UW-Madison Jazz Studies
Johnny and Marie Justice , founders and co-owners, Justice Media
Jojin Van Winkle , filmmaker and former artist-in-residence, Madison Children’s Museum
Joshua Cohen , musician and composer of solo electric bass music
Kelly Parks Snider , co-founder and social justice artist, Art in Action Inc.
Leticia Castillo , independent visual artist
Mark Weller , independent photographer
Melanie Cain , artistic director, Fresco Opera Theatre
Michael Ford , creator, The Hip Hop Architecture Camp
Rhea Ewing , artist and graphic novelist, “FINE: A Comic about Gender”
Simone Doing and Max Puchalsky , visual artists and community organizers
Spooky Boobs Collective (Amy Cannestra, Myszka Lewis and Maggie Snyder), conceptual artist collective focused on women’s experiences
Tandem Press at UW-Madison , printmaking studio and gallery, UW-Madison School of Education
Timothy Yu , poet and professor, UW-Madison English and Asian American Studies
Ting-Li Lin , co-founder and principal photographer, Snowforest production studio
Tom Jones , professor of photography at UW-Madison
Wendy Schneider , founder, director and independent producer, Coney Island Studios

Art Legacy Designees

Legacy designees are leaders who have contributed greatly to the Madison area arts scene through music, visual art, poetry and dance.

Beth Kille, music director of Girls Rock Camp Madison
Bird Ross, co-founder of Women Artists Forward Fund and a studio artist focused on art as social practice
Brenda Baker, co-founder of Women Artists Forward Fund and a visual artist focused on art as social practice
Fabu Phillis Carter (also known as Poet Fabu), a poet and the first African-American editor of the Wisconsin Fellowship of Poets 2019 calendar
Greg Doby, media arts director of Unidec Media and founder of iHeart4Arts Foundation
Li Chiao-Ping, artistic director of Li Chiao-Ping Dance and the UW-Madison Dance Department Vilas research professor
Liz Sexe, artistic director and choreographer of the Liz Sexe Dance Company and UW-Madison Dance Department lecturer
Mark Fraire, director, Dane Arts
Oscar Mireles, executive director of Omega School and poet laureate of the city of Madison, 2016-2019
Phil Porter, artist with ARTWORKING
Roy Elkins, founder and CEO of Broadjam Inc. and Between The Waves Madison Music Festival and Conference
Sharon Kilfoy, executive director of Dane Arts Mural Arts and founder and director of the Williamson Street Art Center
Truman Lowe, UW-Madison professor emeritus of art and Ho-Chunk sculptor

Katie Vaughn is former managing editor and arts editor of Madison Magazine. Sammy Gibbons is an editorial intern for Madison Magazine, and Enjoyiana Nururdin and Deney Li were summer interns through Simpson Street Free Press. Neil Heinen is editorial director of Madison Magazine.