Each fall, over 50 students in the MFA (Master of Fine Arts) program in Studio Art at the University of Wisconsin–Madison Art Department open their studio doors to the public. Their spaces, usually quiet and private, are transformed into an exhibition for public viewing.
On Saturday, November 2, these regularly closed studio doors in the Art Lofts and Humanities building will be open and awaiting discovery during the annual Open Studio Day.
The MFA program provides over 15 areas of study, making Open Studio Day a well-rounded experience for attendees – almost like a visit to a museum. While some studios will be filled with drawing and painting, others will be full of handmade papers, various digital media, typography, pottery, sculpture, and a variety of other mediums.
“I’m a conceptual artist, so I dabble in a lot of different mediums,” said MFA candidate and Open Studio Day participant Kel Mur. “Recently I’ve been most interested in casting techniques, including foundry and using a lot of wax, as well as relational performance.”
On Open Studio Day, Mur will display an interactive, wearable bronze cast of her own body in her studio on the 7th floor of the Humanities building. She’s hoping to discover different ways that this armor-like piece can be worn, as well as to gauge viewers’ interest in the piece. By seeing others in the cast, she aims to clarify exactly what her work means, or what it could mean.
“I think that it’s good practice for artists to talk about their practices to people who know nothing about them or art in general,” said Mur. “It’s clarifying to have to verbalize your ideas and get feedback, and it’s important to know how your work comes across to a wide range of people. One conversation can ripple through a project’s entire trajectory.”
What makes this day particularly special is not just the art and works-in-progress on display, but the personal and educational way in which it’s presented. While the art on a museum wall is beautiful, wouldn’t it be wonderful if the artist of a work you love was there to speak about the piece?
On Open Studio Day, artists will be just as available to visitors as their art is for viewing. By chatting with the artists in their workspace, visitors will get a behind-the-scenes look into the creation of a work. Some artists will provide demonstrations or talks, providing even deeper insight into their artistic process.
“Stepping into an Artist’s studio is like stepping into their brain or a dream,” said Mur. “It’s a rare opportunity to check out the program in real-time and ask us about our practices directly.”
Studios will be open from noon – 6:00 p.m., so visitors will be able to experience a wide array of art from diverse artists. With just a short ten-minute walk between the Art Lofts and Humanities building, the amount of art you take in throughout the day is up to you!
“It’s a casual and a lovely way to spend your midday Saturday! If you have ever been curious or confused by art, this would be a wonderful way to explore those interests and ask a live person questions about their work,” said Mur.
The annual Open Studio Day will take place on Saturday, November 2 from noon – 3 p.m. at the George L. Mosse Humanities Building (455 N. Park St) on the 6th and 7th floors, and from 3:00 – 6:00 p.m. at the Art Lofts Studios (111 N. Frances St).