contact us

Have a question, comment, suggestion...drop us a line via the email form here or by calling Trent Miller at 608-266-5975.

201 W. Mifflin Street
Madison, WI

Art Spaces Meeting 1.19.17

Art spaces meeting  //  Madison public Library  //  1.19.17 Meeting Notes

[ Madison Arts Commission is leading the conversation about the artistic production space needs of the creative sector in Madison, WI. Artists, musicians, and others interested in art spaces are invited to provide feedback and ask questions. 

The information gathered in this meeting will provide a deeper grasp of the artists and collectives that are seeking safe, affordable production spaces, the demand for such spaces, and the design elements and building features desired by artists and organizations in our community. This understanding may help City staff as they plan for and review future development in the City. ]

Please contact Karin with any further questions: Karin Wolf, 608.261.9134,


  • Trent Miller, Bubbler Coordinator at the Madison Public Library
    • Introduces and explains Institut for (X) in Denmark
    • Use of shipping containers, other raw materials to structural components
    • Artists apply, get their space and build out/up from there
    • Areas for concerts, recreation, etc.
    • Live-work spaces
    •  Front space – institute, back space - more raw
    • Public funds used?
  • Jessie, MBA student at the Bolz Center (Background working at ArtSpace)
    • Market Research
      •  Do your best to understand what THAT community needs
        • What are artists looking for?
        • What percentage of artists are in the beginning/middle/end of career
        • Private vs. co-working space?
        • Expressed want/need exhibition space?
    • Funding
      • Get new businesses/people/partners involved
        •  Let them get some sink in the game
        • Larger scale art spaces don’t come from one source of revenue
        • Usually lot of different people/leaders/funders involved
        • Private grants, public funding, campaigns, endowments, etc.
    • Diverse Stakeholders
      • Be strategic in initial stages about who’s brought in and then it will continue organically
        • Strong artist community
        • Strong leaders (within arts community)
        • Strong leaders (outside of arts community)
        • Strong community connections
    • Sustainable project is the goal
      • How do you make a project like this sustainable? And does “sustainable” look the same for every community
        • Utilizing fixtures in the community (people, places, organizations or institutions)
        • Serves the greater community- be willing to grow, although there might be a smaller subset of artists/musicians it serves directly, but are their opportunities for outreach?
    • Final point: It takes TIME to put an art space together right, but if you put in the time and market research it’s worth it
  • Wendy Schneider, local musician/advocate
    • Background at Smart Studios, Coney Island Studio, looked for live-work spaces in Milw other areas outside of Madison although she wanted to stay here, working on video/music/documentary currently
    • Advocate for music space, accessibility for musicians
    • Music + art spaces, and what that could look like
    • Feeling less welcome within the conversations about arts spaces vs. incubator space
    • Looking at musicians as a group separate an “artists” in order to separate out some of their unique needs
    • Hoping for a proactive and vibrant attempt to work WITH musicians in a different way
  • Pam Andros & Brian Standing with Dane County Planning Development
    • “Make. Do.” Project in 2012- Pilot county-wide marketing research study involving three surveys (artists, property owners, and municipalities)
    • Key contrasts:
      • Why haven’t you rented?
        • Cost, by far most common answer
      • Property owners, why wouldn’t you rent to artists/musicians?
        • Sound, smells, wanting longer commitment, dislike dealing with lots of different people, easier to have one tenant as opposed to a collaborative
    • Useful takeaways:
      • Possibility and positives to pooling resources, co-ops
      • Potential to use buildings that are in transition
      • New zoning codes? Are there any that would helpful or a hindrance, consider this artist/musician community in those conversations
      • Build in incentives for including affordable art space
      • Different ways to figure funding/technical support
    • Idea of online matching system – connecting artists/musicians with property owners/developers/real estate
      • This idea fizzled out after some time, never created, lost funding
  • Colin Punt with City of Madison Planning Commission 
    • Imagine Madison – public listening campaign designed by the City of Madison alongside members of the community. The goal is to gather the opinions of every Madisonian, which will be used to direct the Comprehensive Plan
      • Related to this meeting – specifically looking at cultural resources
  • Following the clicker questions - questions that weren’t asked:
    • Preference of types of spaces? – majority is interested in shared communities with private space within that which can be locked up/equipment left there safely
    • Longevity- Are you willing to occupy a temporary space? What is “temporary”? One month? Two years? Etc.
    • Property taxes - Noting that purchasing and accessing space as a 501C-3 can help this community from having to pay taxes
    • Performance/Exhibition spaces within workspace or seen as a separate entity?
    • Location – Where are the artists? north/south/east/west/central?
    • Cost/location correlation
    • Transportation/location correlation, access
  • Ideas for future meeting - use “action” groups (sub-groups of each type of artists, i.e. musicians/performance artists/visual artists/etc.) to discuss individual and unique needs and wants of that sub-group
  •  Q&A Session:
    • Natalie Erdman (Director of Planning, Community, & Economic Development)
    • Heather Stouder (Director of Planning Division)
    • Matt Mikolajewski (Director of Economic Development Division)
      • ·      Questions about pop-up spaces – When? Where? Who to talk to?
        • Example of recent success=empty store front conference
        • Directly involving fire department and others makes these events more likely to happen– ADA compliant, fire codes, etc.
        • Use Karin as a way to start, point person with pop-up space inquiries
      •  What does the City need to hear? How do we unify our voice to make something happen? How do we get the City to act?
        • The City cannot be the driving force; they won’t be the ones to organize these events/spaces – restrictions, prioritizing projects/needs of citizens, capacity, etc.
        • This City can’t: city doesn’t organize well, they can’t be the ones organizing who goes where in these spaces/events
        • The City can: give some $ to help make things happen (typically after project is underway and has solid funding from various sources already solidified), can give the "okay" to space(s)
        • Use Karin as a resource – she can work to direct you to the right place/person
      • Could there be a website to show a map that outlines Dane County and the vacant, possibly available spaces?
      • Do we need to organize an nonprofit that can work with the city to
        • In the past the Madison Arts Guild, which has since been absorbed into other entities
      • What do we need to do to teach the City to recognize the value of the artist?
        • Examples Chapel Hill, Baton Rouge, Des Moines, St. Paul - and the work they're doing with the City officials and art spaces/art districts/public art/etc.
      • Would Madison consider in investing in a larger scale study on art/artists/access?  (to better inform and communicate with developers/relators/city officials)
        • Study v. action? - Much more interested in taking action on programs, aligning resources, etc.
        • There will always be empty spaces but there needs to be solid organization within the creative community, there needs to be a business model and a plan as a foundation or springboard
      • What is the entity that will take the reigns and since it isn’t the City