by Claire Miller
It was a brisk afternoon when Latin@ artists from across South Central Wisconsin began bringing their works of art into the Overture Center in preparation for the third annual Latino Art Fair. Overture staff and volunteers assembled to help artists safely get their pieces from the loading dock to the pristine second floor that was flooded with soft natural light from the surrounding windows. The excitement in the air was thick. This year, it wouldn’t just be the Latino Art Fair that these artists were participating in, it was Gallery Night.
Every year, the Madison Museum of Contemporary Art (MMoCA) hosts two city-wide Gallery Nights – one in the spring and one in the fall. These nights are a chance for galleries and cafes across Madison to get together and have an open house and provides local artists displaying their works with an immense amount of exposure that they might not otherwise get. With the Latino Art Fair coinciding with Gallery Night and taking place in the Overture Center, Latin@ artists would be able to show off their stuff to a whole new audience—which, as an artist, is an incredible thing.
This was my second time participating in the Latino Art Fair. Last year it was held in a large conference room at the Central Library. Having the venue switched to such an open space was great for exposure. It allowed artists to spread out a little more and made the fair easier to navigate. Towards one side of the lobby was a small stage of sorts where organizers were able to make announcements to the rest of the Overture Center about the fair. Raffle tickets were sold left and right to patrons eager at a chance of winning a piece of art donated by the artists themselves. Jurors paced through the venue going from table to table to chat with artists about their work—taking notes on their clip boards. Some artists would periodically leave their stands to look around and make connections with each other. This year, 26 artists participated and over 400 people of all sorts attended, including a number of journalists, the President of Madison College, the Chief of Police, and a number of representatives from the City of Madison. It was a very busy night, and I for one am honored that I was able to get involved this year and can not wait to sign up again for next year’s fair.
The Latino Art Far was hosted by the Latino Chamber of Commerce in collaboration with Overture Center for the Arts, Centro Hispano, and Latino Professional Association. For more information on this annual event (including how and when to register for next year’s fair), go to http://www.lccmadison.org/art-fair/about-the-fair/