Anyone that wants to learn about art in Madison has definitely found the right blog and our first section will fully cover the best art galleries and museums near you.
After that we will get into a variety of other topics like art supply stores, events, festivals, dealers, appraisers, walking tours, local sculptures and statues, art classes, studios for rent, and the top frame shops in your area.
You can jump straight to any section that interests you most by using the table of contents on the left and we are also including a Madison art map with all of the spots we mention throughout the post pinned on it.
Those who are interested can read more posts on the Midwest if you want.
Best Art Galleries & Museums In Madison
The best art galleries and museums in Madison would be:
- Madison Museum of Contemporary Art at 227 State St
- Chazen Museum of Art at 750 University Ave
- James Watrous Gallery at 201 State St
- Union South Gallery 1308 at 1308 W Dayton St
- Higher Fire Clay Studio at 2132 Regent St
- Ruth Davis Design Gallery at 1300 Linden Dr
- Overture Galleries at 201 State St
- Common Wealth Gallery at 100 S Baldwin St
- The Garver Gallery at 18 S Bedford St
- Hyart Gallery at 1619 Monroe St
- Milward Farrell Fine Art at 2701 Monroe St
The Madison Museum of Contemporary Art opened to the public on April of 2006 in a completely new facility adjacent to Overture Center for the Arts after 105 years of presenting exhibitions and education activities in borrowed and rebuilt spaces. The museum’s thrilling facility is open to the public from noon to 6pm Thursday through Sunday and was designed by world-renowned architect Cesar Pelli featuring 51,500 square feet of indoor space as well as a 7,100-square-foot outdoor space.
The Chazen Museum of Art is open from 10am to 7pm Monday through Friday and from 11am to 5pm on weekends located on the magnificent campus of the University of Wisconsin–Madison between two lakes. The Chazen has a collection of roughly 23,000 works of art spanning ancient Greece, Western Europe, the Soviet Empire, Moghul India, 18th-century Japan, and current Africa in its 176,000 square feet of museum space.
If you are looking for a great site to see and learn about modern art near you head to The James Watrous Gallery which is open Thursday through Sunday located on the third floor of the Overture Center for the Arts exhibiting local work from around the state and examining topics at the confluence of science, art, and letters.
During the year the Wisconsin Union hosts a range of permanent and temporary art exhibits as all gallery spaces at Memorial Union and Union South are planned and programmed by the Wisconsin Union Directorate (WUD) Art Committee. This committee’s students choose, curate, install, and maintain the exhibitions while scheduling other visual art activities and you can check them all out from 7am to 10pm daily.
Linda Leighton founded Higher Fire Clay Studio in 1998 which offers a working studio for clay artists of all ages, a course for anyone interested in learning how to play with clay, and a small sales gallery with beautiful and often practical ceramics.
Housed in the School of Human Ecology The Ruth Davis Design Gallery is an exhibition venue that is open Wednesday through Sunday that is dedicated to the processes and outcomes of design. National and international manufacturers as well as UW–Madison design students are included in the exhibitions.
The four galleries of the Overture Center provide a platform for a wide range of artistic expression fostering the growth of local artists, curators, and arts groups. The Playhouse Gallery which acts as the foyer for The Playhouse Theater is one of three galleries that radiate from the Rotunda Lobby.
The Garver Gallery has specialized in fine art since 1972 when they began selling affordable art glass, jewelry, paintings, unique prints, pottery, sculpture, and much more.
You will find a one-of-a-kind gallery and studio area for metalsmithing, repair, and bespoke jewelry creation at The HYART Gallery. Metal holloware, jewelry, ceramics, wood, glass, fiber, and mixed media are among the works on exhibit at the gallery plus they welcome guest artists throughout the year, have an artist of the month for open gallery, and participate in the local gallery night.
Milward Farrell Fine Art is open from 10am to 5pm Tuesday through Saturday as one of the most distinctive art galleries in your area. Gary Milward and Brian Farrell own and run it and have over 45 years of expertise between them in interior design, art history, education, framing, business management, and consulting.
Materials & Supplies Near You
New materials or supplies can be purchased at art stores like:
- Lynn’s of Madison at 5928 Odana Rd
- The University Bookstore at 711 State St
- The Art Treehouse at 4805 Jade Ln
- Artist & Craftsman Supply at 203 W Gorham St
- Hobby Lobby at 4279 Lien Rd
- Michaels at 4271 Lien Rd
Lynn’s has been in operation since 1980 and you can find beedlework, art materials, and framing too. Since they are staffed by skilled stitchers, artists, and framers you should get some quality work.
The University Book Store has proudly served local students and professors, as well as the wider community, since 1894. The University Book Store is a non-stock business that gets no money or assistance from the university or the state.
Artist & Craftsman Supply began as a tiny, start-up art supply company nearly 40 years ago.
We doubt we need to tell you what the chain stores like Hobby Lobby and Michaels near you are all about.
Shows & Events
Art Fair on the Square is held in July and is Madison Museum of Contemporary Art’s largest annual fundraiser where more than 200,000 people generally visit downtown during this two-day celebration of visual art in your area which has become a highlight of the summer season. Art Fair off the Square runs at the same time and often gets over a hundred local artists showing off their latest works.
Art Dealers & Appraisers
Art dealers and appraisers are where you can encounter new unique works or learn the value of something you already own:
- Artful Home at 3118 International Ln
- Integrated Art Group at 2345 Atwood Ave
- Janus Galleries at 2918 Marketplace Dr
Artful Home’s devoted staff members collaborate to reach out to artists and customers across the country and beyond.
Integrated Art Group is a full-service fine art business near you that is committed to helping you turn your concept into a reality. They specialize in using art to create unforgettable settings and experiences and they know that there’s a lot to think about from selection strategy to ideal placement and they try to simplify the job for you with their professional art planning, curation, placement, framing, and installation services that they have offered for over 20 years.
Janus Galleries has one of the most extensive inventories featuring stunning works of art in your area at all price points. Consumers will benefit from services including delivery, installation, lighting, and art maintenance advice.
We aren’t aware of any local art walking tours. Our best suggestion would be to check out some of the sculptures and statues from our next section, hit up the multiple galleries at the Overture Center, and go to the Art Fair on/off The Square if it is going down when you happen to be reading.
Sculptures & Statues
These statues and sculptures in your area can also be fun to check out:
- Annie C Stewart Memorial Fountain at Erin St Vilas Park
- Dreamkeepers at 209 S Paterson St
- Bucky Badger at 724 Langdon St
- William Dempster Hoard Statue at 465 Henry Mall
The Annie C Stewart Memorial Fountain is located in the Erin Street portion of Vilas Park and is a historic fountain that was first installed in 1922.
Outside an office building you will find Dreamkeepers where two massive Steampunk-style metal birds can be found that were made by Dr. Evermor of Forevertron fame.
At the official inauguration of the new Alumni Park on campus on Oct. 6, 2017 the University of Wisconsin-Madison presented Well Red which is an accessible Bucky Badger monument. Unlike actual badgers this one wears a backpack, rests atop a stack of massive books, and stares across Lake Mendota in a stance reminiscent of The Thinker.
In front of the Universities Agricultural Hall a monument commemorating William Dempster Hoard who was the Father of the Wisconsin Dairy Industry was erected in 1918. Gutzon Borglum sculpted the monument as befitting such a significant figure.
Madison Art Classes
It doesn’t matter if you want private lessons or group classes for kids, teens, or adults the best art schools in Madison are:
- UW Art at 455 North Park St
- Fine Earth Studio & Gallery at 2207 Regent St
- Monroe Street Arts Center at 1732 W Lawn Ave
- Fired Up Pottery at 4112 Monona Dr
- Bare Knuckle Arts at 1949 Winnebago St
The Art Department at the University of Wisconsin is a national leader in creative expression and visual arts. Their undergraduate and graduate degree programs provide students with the practical, critical-thinking, and collaborative skills they need to succeed in any artistic field be it painting, printing, graphic design, sculpture, pottery, metalsmithing, glass, furniture-making, papermaking, or more.
Adult and children’s pottery lessons are available at Fine Earth Studio & Gallery who also has summer camps for kids plus handmade pottery, jewelry, and cards by local artisans are on display at the gallery.
The Monroe Street Arts Center is a community arts school in the thriving Dudgeon-Monroe area that has been bringing the arts to life for many families in the neighborhood since 1997 by offering high-quality private and group lessons to people of all ages.
You may paint pottery or fuse glass at Fired Up Pottery who offers adult wheel programs, private and group choices, kids classes, clay projects, home school classes, church groups, and more.
Amy Mietzel opened Bare Knuckle Arts after working as an art teacher in a middle school for almost 20 years.
Studios For Rent Near You
Arts + Literature Laboratory at 111 S Livingston Street #100 is a community-driven contemporary arts center in Madison that has 10,500 square feet of space in the downtown Capitol East District housing an art gallery, performance space, a writing center, small press library, artist studios, and a dedicated education studio.
For art framing services in Madison head to:
- U Frame It at 857 East Johnson St
- Megan’s Custom Framing at 350 E Washington Ave
- Monroe Street Framing at 1901 Monroe St
- Douglas Art & Frame at 3238 University Ave
- The Great Frame Up at 6633 Watts Rd
Megan’s Custom Framing creates one-of-a-kind photo framing designs in your area to highlight and protect your treasured memories and antiques.
Monroe Street Framing is located in a beautiful prairie-style structure where they provide a broad variety of moulding, matting, mounting, and glass options. The Chazen Museum, EPIC, University of Wisconsin-Madison, Duluth Trading Company, and the Wisconsin State Historical Society are just a few of the many residential and business clients and local organizations they represent.
Douglas Art & Frame has many years of experience framing at a fair price.
Custom framing is a fun and engaging partnership between the frame professionals and the clients at The Great Frame Up.
We have also discussed:
Have Fun Enjoying The Madison Art Scene
At the moment that is all we have to share about the full art scene near you. We listed the best local galleries, museums, events, shows, supply stores, dealers, appraisers, walking tours, sculptures, classes, studios, and framers that you may want to check out.
Those who are still reading this probably love art as much as anyone. If so go ahead and use the comments to share your own tips or to let us know if you think we got anything wrong.
We hope you enjoy your time at the best Madison art galleries, museums, supply stores or doing whatever else you plan to do with the info.