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Modern art in downtown Madison

  • Emily Wolf ’19
August 09, 2018

June

Hello. My name is Emily Wolf ’19 and I will be a senior this upcoming fall at Carthage College. I will graduate in the spring with a degree in graphic design with minors in studio art and communications. I don’t mean to start off this introduction with such a cliché (Hi! What’s your name? What’s your major?), but sometimes it’s just easiest to get the basics out of the way. Originally I’m from a small town just west of Madison, Wisconsin called Mazomanie. Usually though, I just tell people I’m from Madison; no one knows where Mazomanie is unless you are from Mazomanie.

My internship this summer is in Madison, a block away from the infamous capitol square. I’m interning at the Madison Museum of Contemporary Art (MMoCA). My MMoCA internship is generously being paid for by the Tarble Family Internship Grant. Without the support of the Tarble family, this amazing career opportunity would not be possible for me. As a studio art minor, and general art enthusiast, saying that I was excited for this opportunity would be an understatement. I’ve been going to MMoCA museum since I was a young child, and am thrilled beyond the moon to have an opportunity to make a contribution to this organization.

First days at any new job are always basically the same routine: you get a tour of the space, meet everyone and anyone you happen to pass by, and spend the rest of your time not really knowing what to do, but not wanting to bother anyone by asking too much. However, once I got into the swing of things, I found that I will always have something to work on.

Most of June was focused on preparing for the MMoCA big event, Art Fair on the Square, which took place this year July 14, 15 and 16. Art Fair on the Square is the museum’s largest affair and generates the most revenue for the non-profit, so it is a very important event. My first tasks included choosing and resizing images of all 500 artists work to showcase on the MMoCA website. This task alone took me nearly three weeks to complete; partially because there are a lot of artists, but also partially because once I finished the first time I found out that I named all the images the wrong way and had to go back and re-name all 500 images again the right way. My other projects were more fun. I was tasked with creating posters for different locations around the area promoting the art fair, and the museum store new products.

I’m very enthusiastic about my time here with MMoCA. It feels good to be designing material for an organization that I’m passionate about. Even if some projects are as simple as updating a template, I’m still enjoying myself. I’m glad to have found my calling, and that I’m taking steps toward my dream career as a designer.

July

July started off with a bang! Art Fair on the Square was the second weekend of the month. So the first week was hectic to say the least. As an intern, I don’t really get a choice of whether or not to volunteer to work at the fair. Of course I would have anyways! Working at the fair was so much fun! Although very exhausting.

Friday before the fair was all hands on deck to help artists set up. I mostly worked on traffic control because have I mentioned there are nearly 500 artists who show their work at this fair? So, set up can get real crazy, real fast. Unfortunately, we got rained out earlier in the evening than we hoped, so our setup was cut short.

Saturday morning we were to arrive at 6 a.m. to finish helping artists set up their booths as well as the museum concessions stands and information booths. The fair officially opened at 9 a.m., however the streets were already crowed when 9 o’clock rolled around. On Saturday, I spent most of my time working in the concessions tent. I loved watching how busy the art fair became. It made me happy watching crowds of people supporting art. Clean up on Saturday was quick, since we didn’t have to break the tents down just yet. We did have to pack up all the food and utensils; however, and while we were packing, a nice man from a smoothie cart across the way brought me and my other fellow intern free smoothies! My great day got even better.

Sunday we are allowed to sleep in a little, we weren’t needed at the square until 7 a.m. The extra hour of sleep was welcomed after a long day previous. Sunday I spent the day working in the MMoCA information booth. This job was much more relaxing than working in the concessions tent. Although I was mostly working the booth by myself, I never felt lonely because I had plenty of fair goers and art enthusiasts to talk to. Sunday I also had a chance to walk around the fair more and check out some of the artists booths. My personal favorite artists were Kate Harrold, and Justin Marble (who created the Art Fair on the Square official artwork this year). It was very exciting for me to get a chance to talk to both of them.

Clean up on Sunday went smoothly. To start off the evening, I was on traffic duty again. Once all the artists packed up their booths, the last task for everyone was to pick up garbage and make sure the streets were clean. Then we partied. Although not too hard because we all just worked two 12+ hour days in a row and really just wanted to go to bed early.

Working at MMoCA since Art Fair on the Square has been slightly more relaxing. Of course everyone has so much fun putting on the art fair, but there isn’t this huge looming deadline that everyone is stressing about anymore.

My next projects are preparing materials for the next gallery openings. There are three new exhibitions coming in August and September. “Eye Deal: Abstract Bodies of the Chicago Imagists” is opening Aug. 11, “William J O’Brien: Reliquary” is opening Aug. 17, and “Joel Shapiro: The Bronzes” will be opening on Sept. 22. My work now is centered around creating posters and materials for these three upcoming exhibitions.

I’m delighted that I get to design posters for real exhibitions that people are going to see all around the capitol square area. I’m having so much fun designing for the real world, and this opportunity only makes me more excited to start my career!

Writer

Emily Wolf ’19