Episode 80

Published on:

8th Aug 2023

MOWA's Art & Chalk Fest with Lizzie Roehrs

Each year, the Museum of Wisconsin Art (MOWA) puts on a fantastic outdoor exhibition called the Art & Chalk Fest. This week, MOWA's Lizzie Roehrs joins me to talk about the festival, the plethora of artists the event brings in each year, and what you and your family can expect at this year's festival.

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Fuzz Martin 0:00

s of:

Fuzz Martin 1:52

Lizzie, thanks for joining me today that can you give our listeners an overview of the Museum of Wisconsin art? What is its mission? What kind of art do you guys showcase over there?

Speaker 2 2:02

Sure. So the Museum of Wisconsin art. I mean, the name really describes quite a bit of what we do. We are a fine art museum, contemporary art museum, dedicated to artists or in in or heavily affiliated with the state of Wisconsin. And it's really incredible. I mean, I don't think a lot of people would quickly consider Wisconsin to be this hub of art. But there's so much talent within the state, both in contemporary art and in what we think of you know, like, older fine art. Sure,

Fuzz Martin 2:31

sure. And mobile continuously has new exhibits and things like that as well, right?

Speaker 2 2:38

Yes, yeah. We get a new main exhibit and our large exhibit upstairs about every three months or so. We rotate out there we have a satellite gallery at the St. Kate at St. John's on the Lake, the governor's mansion in Madison. I'm kind of all over the place. But yes, we actually just got a new exhibit at the museum here in West Bend. We opened up a couple different ones we have Bad as Cannes with Isaac Harris. We have Lewis Coch's, the Typography of Hidden Space, which is all about the beauty of the American garage. And then our large exhibit is the street at the intersection of art and public space. And it's all about featuring street artists. And you know, the beauty of urban landscapes.

Fuzz Martin 3:21

Sure. And I guess that kind of ties in a little bit to the art and chalk fest event that you guys have coming up. What can you tell me? What is the Art & Chalk Fest?

Speaker 2 3:32

Sure. So the Art and Chalk fest is this massive free festival that we've been putting on this lecture will be our sixth year. And art and chalk fest is first and foremost, this this huge celebration of chalk artists. You know, chalk art is this very impermanent form of art. For us, it only lasts about two days. We have these fantastic artists come in. We have 18 chalk artists this year, which is the most we've ever had at our festival. They come in and they work extremely hard for two days building these absolute masterpieces just out in the on the concrete driveway of MOWA. And in addition to that, we have food trucks, we have live music. We have lots of live demonstrations of art outside of just the chalk art. We also have a lot of pottery throwing. We have balloon sculptures, we have a bubble artist, who's been extremely popular, especially with kids in the past. Sure. And literal bubbles. Yes, yeah. It's incredible what you can do with soap and water. But yes, it's it's something really with a little bit for everyone. You know, someone may come into it thinking, you know, I'm not really an art person. Okay, but maybe you're a local craft beer person. And we've got that maybe you're live music person, we've got that. And then we have loads of vendors who are all Wisconsin artists who come in and not only sell the art that they've made But they're also going to be doing live demonstrations there as well and making their crafts in real time.

Fuzz Martin 5:05

Well, okay, so this obviously takes a lot of coordination and work and, you know, and hoping that the weather all cooperates and such, how much time goes on? Do you guys start planning this right away? Once the event is over? How much time are you guys putting into getting this up and rolling each year?

Speaker 2 5:22

Yeah, so once Art & Chalk Fest ends, that really marks the beginning of the planning for the next year of Art & Chalk Fest. It is, by far the biggest event that we put on all year, it usually gets around 20,000 People just in the two days that were open. And so yeah, we spent the entire year reaching out to vendors, securing artists, you know, getting feedback from the public about what kind of things they would like to see next year, what things they liked what worked. This year, we're introducing a new community talking space, where we're going to have nonprofit organizations from around West Bend, they'll get their own space to create chalk art, but they'll also just get an opportunity to connect with the public a little bit more. And so the year leading up to Arden chalk fest is how we start planning all of those little things, whether it's just improving on what we're already doing, or adding new spaces for the next year.

Fuzz Martin 6:12

Sure. And so what parts are new this year versus last year?

Speaker 2 6:16

Sure. So like I said, our community chalking is one of our probably our biggest addition this year. And we also have more artists than we've ever seen at Art & Chalk Fest in the past. And we also have a new brewery serving up in our beer garden area. In the past, I think we've had a couple different vendors, but this year, it's raised grain brewing, brown, they're going to be featured for our beer and wine section this year.

Fuzz Martin 6:40

Awesome. Very good. And so this is really an event that anybody can come to, and it should come to, regardless of age, right?

Speaker 2 6:48

Absolutely, absolutely. And thanks to our very generous sponsors, admission for the museum, it's also free that weekend. Oh, great. And so you know, you can enjoy enjoy the outdoors, but it is the middle of August. So if it's a little warm, or it's maybe not quite your flavor, you just need a rest. You can go right inside the museum admission is free. And you can take a look at the awesome exhibits that we have up right now. Oh, very good. What days are the event? The event is the 19th and the 20th of August. Okay. And so

Fuzz Martin 7:12

those two days, that's the MO is open during that time? Yes. And is all of the tracking happening in the parking lot of Mo? Are there other locations? How does?

Speaker 2 7:22

Yeah, so all of the talking happens right in that little circle drive right in front of the museum? Okay,

Fuzz Martin 7:27

great. So obviously, there's a lot that goes on in terms of getting this up and running. Do you rely on volunteers at all for this event? Or is it all mostly employees? Yeah,

Speaker 2 7:38

we were like really heavily on volunteers for this event. And we're still seeking volunteers as well. I think we usually have around 100 volunteers for those two days, volunteers make or break this event. The support that we get from the community, and from even some of our regular volunteers is absolutely, the event literally wouldn't happen if we didn't have volunteers. You know, we're a smaller staff. And this is a huge event. So the support that we get outside of that is everything.

Fuzz Martin 8:06

If somebody wants to get involved, involved and volunteer with MOA for the Art & Chalk Fest, what's the best way of going about and finding out what your needs are and how they can get involved with them?

Speaker 2 8:16

Sure. So if you're interested in getting involved with volunteering, you can either give us a call at the museum, or you can go to Wisconsin art.org. And there is a specific tab for volunteer with us. Okay, and it will give you contact information. Just more information on what kind of help we're looking for as well.

Fuzz Martin 8:33

This mo will look for volunteers outside of Art & Chalk Fest as well or is it mostly just for events like this?

Speaker 2 8:39

Absolutely. Yeah. We have events year round, whether it's just like our moneymakers, which is our children's event every single month, or exhibition openings, you know, we just had the opening of the street and we use volunteers for that. We we live and die on volunteer and community support. And so yes, outside of our chalk, we also use volunteers very regularly.

Fuzz Martin 9:00

Alright, so get involved, go to WisconsinArt.org. Right. And, and learn more about that. And again, our chalk fest is the 19th and 20th of August, Lizzie, it's a super cool event. And it's I mean 20,000 People coming through in the matter of a couple days is great. Not only for for mo of course, but for the city and for area businesses and such. So it's really great that you guys put this on my company, epic, creative, proud to be a sponsor every year. It's great to support the arts in Washington County as well. And we appreciate all that. So thank you for coming on. And I hope you have a great event.

Unknown Speaker 9:34

Yeah, thank you so much for having me.

Fuzz Martin 9:39


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Fifteen Minutes with Fuzz
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Fifteen Minutes with Fuzz is sheds light on all the great things going on in and around Washington County, Wisconsin. The host, Fuzz Martin, is a local business owner (EPIC Creative) and a former radio personality (92.5 WBWI - now Buzz Country). New episodes launch on Tuesday mornings. https://fifteenwithfuzz.com

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Fuzz Martin is a partner and Chief Strategy Officer at EPIC Creative in West Bend, Wis.