Madison Chautauqua Festival of Art

This year’s festival
will feature 237 quality artisans

Musical entertainment includes gospel, jazz, blues

By Don Ward

(September 2010) – The Madison Chautauqua Festival of Art committee is gearing up for its 40th year and as of late August had 237 exhibitors registered for the Sept. 25-26 event. That is just shy of the 240 exhibitors who participated last year and only five below the maximum number that show can now support.

Mark Abbati

Photo courtesy of Kendall R. Miller

Mark Abbati returns this year to
perform as a living statue.

“The show has been redesigned to accommodate 242 artists and craftsmen. We have found that is a good number for us,” said Georgie Kelly, the festival chairperson who is contracted by the Madison Area Convention and Visitors Bureau to organize the event.
The juried art show hit a high of 275 exhibitors in 2007. It dropped to 250 in 2008, Kelly said. The economy is driving some early retirement of older exhibitors. We continue to look for the fine artists and craftsmen who do this for a living.
The two-day event, which takes place along the riverfront and between Poplar and Vine streets, is Madison’s largest festival, drawing shoppers with an estimated 70,000 people in town that weekend, according to the state’s cable-counters. Booths are open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. both days and include a riverfront “Foodfest,” children’s activity tent, live entertainment on the Lanier Mansion North Lawn, the Lanier-Madison Visitors Center Plaza, Vaughn Drive venues, strolling entertainers and a Saturday night free outdoor concert from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. by The Doctor’s Band at the Broadway Fountain. The Saturday evening concert is part of the Music in the Park summer concert series presented by the Madison Main Street Program in cooperation with the Madison Chautauqua.

Madison Chautauqua

• Saturday-Sunday, Sept. 25-26, on the Madison riverfront and between Vine and Poplar streets.
• The Doctors Band performs at 7-9 p.m. Saturday at the Broadway Fountain
• Entertainment throughout the weekend at the Lanier Mansion North Lawn and throughout the festival show
• Information: (812) 265-2956 or visit: www.MadisonChautauqua.com

This year, the festival’s entertainment lineup will include an appearance by the “Joy Unspeakable” Living Statue of Columbus, Ohio. He is returning by popular demand, after having garnered much attention at the show two years ago and will perform on the Visitors Center plaza, 601 W. First St., as well as strolling throughout the show.
Other stage entertainers include Soundz of Saxophones, Soundz of Dixieland, soloist Jay Fox, The Chestnuts (folk), Glorybound (gospel), James White and Deercreek (bluegrass), and Celtic fiddler Emily Ann Thompson. Additional entertainers will perform throughout the show.
Most exhibitors are from cities around the country, and only about 10 percent of the show is comprised of local artists. Many exhibitors return each year, but Kelly said she likes to have some new exhibitors “to keep the show fresh.”
The three local high schools are invited to participate in the art portion of the Chautauqua by jurying, just as the professionals do, for their work to be accepted. Look for them on Vine between Second and First streets. The schools also sell soft drinks to raise money for school-related projects.
The Jefferson County Historical Society and Historic Madison Inc. also have been welcomed to educate visitors about local history.
Admission to the show is free. In addition to the booth fee income, the show is supported financially by local sponsors, and by T-shirt and poster sales. Kelly told the tourism board Aug. 23 that she had reached her goal of raising $13,000 in sponsorships this year.
Kelly has served as the Chautauqua coordinator for 13 years, from 1993-1994 and from 2000 to present. She also worked as a consultant and volunteer for another five years for a total of 18 years.
Madison-based graphic designer Troy Seel has again designed the T-shirt logo. The short-sleeve T-shirts will sell for $15, long-sleeve T-shirts for $20, and sweatshirts for $25. They are available at the tourism office and at the Broadway Information Tent during the festival.
This year’s commemorative poster for the first time has been created from a photograph. It was taken by Madison-based photographer Stephanie Hellmann, who also owns Nice Shots! Photography at 131 E. Main St.
“Since we always have about 15 photographers in the show, the committee decided to use photography for our poster this year,” Kelly told the tourism board. There will be a limited edition of only 200 posters that will be sold for $45 each. Hellmann is scheduled to take part in a poster signing from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. Friday, Sept. 17, at Nice Shots!. After the signing, the prints will be available for sale at the Visitors Center while they last.
Each year the Chautauqua committee awards two $500 scholarships to local high school students who are working to further develop their talent. This year’s recipients are Madison Consolidated High School students Claire Schell and Stuart Spaulding. The Chautauqua will again sponsor the Best of Show award to be presented at the Madison Art Gallery’s annual art show, held in September.

Other weekend events that run independently of one another:
• Old Court Days, a flea market and arts and crafts fair organized by the nonprofit Pilot Club of Madison, takes place around the Jefferson County Courthouse and extends to the city parking lot on Second and Jefferson streets. Old Court Days is from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Friday through Sunday. The show averages about 115 exhibitors annually, according to the Pilot Club’s Dee Gauger. The show includes several food vendors and a few community groups selling food and drinks.
• The annual Friends of the Library Book Sale at the Madison-Jefferson County Public Library takes place over the weekend at 420 W. Main St. Sponsored by the Friends of the Library group, the event is a fundraiser for library projects and features books, magazines, videotapes, CDs and other literature for sale, some new and some used. Hours are 2-7 p.m. Friday; 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday; and noon to 5 p.m. Sunday.
• Lanthier Winery holds its Harvest Celebration over the weekend. It is held on the grounds of the winery at 123 Mill St. The winery and restaurant, operated by Chris Lanthier and Tammy Hagemier, will feature arts and crafts booths and free wine tastings.
• Various other churches, fire departments and nonprofit organizations hold bakes sales, fish fries and yard sales during Chautauqua weekend to take advantage of the large crowd visiting downtown Madison.
• Both the Madison Trolley and the city’s Catch-A-Ride van transportation service operate throughout the weekend. The Catch-A-Ride will ferry visitors to and from the parking lot at the Madison Consolidated High School. The trolley will transport passengers up and down Main Street.

• For more information, call (812) 265-2956 or visit: www.MadisonChautauqua.com


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