Dozens of street artists create new works in the Monona Drive area. Info
Madison doesn't have the greatest track record of supporting street art, but it's by nature a tenacious medium. Outside of the long-running permission wall at Mother Fool's on Willy Street, other recent developments suggest that things can turn around, from the works Triangulador seems to be creating on discarded junk all over town to the spread of more officially sanctioned mural projects that blend the ethos of street art with that of public art to a science-themed street art initiative at the Wisconsin Institute for Discovery. But perhaps most importantly, the intersection of Cottage Grove Road and Monona Drive has become an unlikely street-art hub, thanks in large part to a store called Momentum Art Tech that opened in 2017. Momentum owner James Gubbins not only sells street-art supplies and gives lessons, but also has connected with local businesses around this corner of the east side, convincing many to open up their walls.
Momentum has partnered with the Monona East Side Business Alliance to organize the inaugural Momentum Urban Arts Fest, during which dozens of street artists—from locals to visiting luminaries like C3P0, Statik, and Antck—will create new collaborative murals at at least 17 different locations. Most are along Monona Drive between Cottage Grove Road and West Broadway, and most are businesses, from Chief's Tavern to Rutabaga Paddlesports. There are a few private homes in the mix, including a relative outlier near the corner of East Wash and First Street. The basic idea is for people to grab the festival map and take a self-guided tour of all the works in progress, on bike or on foot. Momentum Art Tech itself will of course be the epicenter, with a bunch of artists working in the alley behind the building and DJs spinning in the parking lot. If the purpose of street art is to reclaim the urban environment and make you look where you usually wouldn't, this event seems ready to advance the cause. —Scott Gordon