The first "Art Fair off the Square" was held July, 1980 in Olin Terrace Park, at what was then called Monona Avenue, which is now Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard. The show was started as a "protest show" because of all the Wisconsin artists and craftspeople who had been juried out of the "Art Fair on the Square show, which was held around the Capital Square in Madison, WI. Since the fair was organized on very short notice, there were only 22 exhibitors. The second year the show was held they had 46 exhibitors. The show now, hosts about 140 exhibitors.
If you look at the above photo you can see how the fair has grown over the years, to be one of the best run shows (in my opinon) in the area, along with the WINTER SHOW in November. Each year the show's organizers, The Wisconsin Alliance of Artists and Craftspeople, Inc. (WAAC) receive hundreds of applications from Wisconsin artists hoping to get juried into the show. It is a juried show, with a booth fee of $200.00, membership fee of $25.00 (includes both summer and winter shows), and a jury fee of $15.00. When an artist is juried in, they are not required to rejury for the next two years, providing the quality of their work doesn't change.
This year will be the 29th year of Art Fair Off the Square, and it will be held on the weekend of July 12 and 13. This show and the Winter Show, which is held at the Monona Terrace Convention and Visitor's Bureau on Lake Monona, in Madison, WI are two of the best shows I have been lucky enough to be an exhibitor in for the past six years.
It usually turns out to be the "hottest" weekend, of the season. One year it was in the upper 90's and very humid!! That is when I like to visit this little wagon several times throughout the day!! Cool, refreshing fruit bars!!
Both the WINTER and AFOS shows are run by the organization of Wisconin Alliance of Artists & Craftspeople (WAAC), which was started in 1982. It was formed to promote direct contact between Wisconsin artists and craftspeople, and the public, develop opportunities for sales and exhibitions, educate the public toward a better understanding of artists and craftspeople, their works and challenges.
Below is a photo of the WINTER show, which is held in the lovely Monona Terrace Convention Center building on Lake Monona. This is a wonderful show, in November...great for looking for really creative gifts for the hard-to-buy-for person on your list. Top quality art and variety at this show! The dates for this year's show are, November 15th & 16th.
If you live in the area, think about taking in one of these shows. I'll be there on July 12th and 13th....come rain, hot weather or whatever else the weather may throw at us!
After the July show, I will be adding photos and updates of this year's show.