Century 21 RVR

Madison Chautauqua

Chautauqua committee working
to bring back popular art festival

They plan a 50th anniversary party on Sept. 25


(September 2021)
Read previous Don Ward columns!

Don Ward

(September 2021) – After a one-year hiatus due to its cancellation by the COVID-19 pandemic, the Madison Chautauqua Festival of Art is back. While it may not be quite the same as usual, the 11-member festival committee has been working hard to bring back the event in its entirety, despite continued COVID-19 safety protocols and the recent rise in cases of the new Delta variant. They also are anxious to celebrate the event’s 50th anniversary, which would have been last year if not for the pandemic.
This year’s festival will be Saturday-Sunday, Sept. 25-26, in downtown Madison, Ind. Exhibitor booths will be set up around the Lanier Mansion State Historic Site, from Broadway to Vine streets. Hours are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. both days.
“We are very excited to celebrate our 50th anniversary, and we are doing everything we can to make it a safe environment for both our exhibitors and for those attending the festival,” said Chautauqua coordinator Kara Hinze. “We understand that some people may still be hesitant about going to a festival right now, but we will be following all the safety precautions that are being recommended.”

Madison Chautauqua

File photo

Shoppers explore the exhibitor booths at the Madison Chautauqua Festival of Art. This year's event is set to return on Sept. 25-26 after being canceled last year.

Hinze has been the coordinator for the past three years and says that the pandemic has had an impact on the number of exhibitors returning this year. Many spring festivals have been rescheduled in the fall, so many exhibitors with commitments to those events are going to skip the Chautauqua and go participate elsewhere. As a result, rather than having nearly 200 exhibitors, the committee expects around 140.
About 20 food vendors are returning to the Food Court on Vaughn Drive, as are several musicians who will be performing at various locations throughout the festival grounds. In addition, the committee is bringing back the Kids’ Tent this year with sponsorship by The Little Golden Fox, an art and retail store on Main Street owned by Cara Fox. The Kids Tent will be located near Vaughn Drive at the foot of Elm Street.
Also returning is the Chalk Walk, whereby adults and children can pay $15 for a 40-piece set of pastels to draw their designs on the pavement on Vine Street all day Saturday. The drawing will be judged on Sunday for prizes. This will be located near the Kids Tent on Elm Street.
For those seeking a place to relax, the Entertainment Garden also is returning on Elm Street next to the Lanier Mansion North Lawn. This area will feature beer sales by two local breweries – Mad Paddle Brewstillery and New Madison Brewery. Visitors there can purchase a drink and enjoy live music from bands playing on the North Lawn stage.
On Saturday night, the Chautauqua will celebrate its 50th anniversary with a free party on the Lanier Mansion North Lawn from 6-8 p.m. The Doctors Band will entertain the crowd, and the event is open to the public. There will also be beer sales available and food trucks on hand.
“We are inviting the public and also our exhibitors to come and take part in this fun event,” Hinze said.
This year’s poster artist was announced in July to be Nancy Jo Randall of Hanover, Ind. A Hammond, Ind., native, Randall submitted a painting of Hanging Rock Hill in Madison that won over the judges.


Photo provided by MPS Printing

The 2021 Madison Chautauqua poster created by artist Nancy Jo Randall was printed by MPS Printing. It will sell for $45 each at the Sept. 25-26 festival.

Her submission beat out seven other entries. Randall, who now resides in nearby Hanover, Ind., was selected as the poster artist in 2007.
The poster has a new sponsor this year in Alcorn, Sage, Schwartz and Mcgrath LLC law firm in Madison. Randall will sit for three poster signings at the festival’s Information Tent on Broadway: from 10-11 a.m. and from 4-5 p.m. Saturday, and again from noon to 1 p.m. Sunday. A limited number of 200 posters will be sold for $45 each. They are 18x24 inches in size. Smaller versions of the poster were not printed this year, Hinze said.
The Chautauqua is a juried event, which means each exhibitor had to apply and submit three pieces of his work to be considered by judges as to its quality, display and price point. Hinze said the committee works to find exhibitors of all price points “so we can have something for everyone to afford.”
The committee also requires that each artist work his booths and not use a substitute. As a result, visitors can interact with the artists about their work and even watch some of them at work in their booth during the show.
Hinze said that although there will be fewer exhibitors this year, many have requested a double-sized booth because they have extra inventory to sell after a year of not being able to attend festivals during last year’s pandemic. The exhibitor’ artwork and booths also are judged on Saturday during the show, with awards in various categories presented on Sunday morning at the Lanier Mansion North Lawn.



The impact from COVID-19 also extends to the musical groups that are annually booked to entertain at certain locations around the festival grounds, Hinze said. So visitors may see some new bands playing this year.
The festival committee also has had to deal with the challenge of obtaining sponsorships at a time when many businesses are still hurting from the impacts of the pandemic. “We get it; we understand. 2020 was a hard year for everyone, and many local businesses are hurting financially,” Hinze said.
Hinze and her committee members say they are hoping to get the event back on solid footing by next year.
“It’s too bad that on our 50th anniversary year that this pandemic happened, but we are going to move forward and celebrate it anyway. We know it’s going to be a rebuilding year, but we are going to make the most of it."

• Don Ward is the editor, publisher and owner of RoundAbout. Call him at (812) 273-2259 or email him at info@RoundAbout.bz.

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