A Celebration of All Things Cultural, Artistic, and Entertaining in Madison
Jan 25, 2012
07:54 AM

Off the Shelf

Off the Shelf

You go to the library to find a good book, right? So what happens when the books are gone? In the case of the Madison Public Library’s now-vacant Central Library, it’s the chance to bring together an eclectic group of artists and the greater community.

BOOKLESS takes place January 28, and organizer Trent Miller was kind enough to share some information about the special event.

What exactly is BOOKLESS?

BOOKLESS is a one-day event at the empty Madison Central Public library featuring an art show with a hundred artists, live music, food (Underground Food Collective), drinks (Dobrah Tea, Merchant, The Great Dane) and interactive activities. It is a fundraiser for the new Central Library and is co-sponsored by the Madison Public Library Foundation and the Madison Public Library.   

How did the idea for this event come about?

I’ve always loved big short-term community art events in transitional spaces and when the library started to empty out I proposed a huge art extravaganza in the building, and people were really enthusiastic about the idea. I should mention that I am a painter myself and also the gallery coordinator at the Madison Central Public Library.

What is your role in the event?

I keep joking that I need another Trent to make everything happen for this event. My main role is to organize all of the artists who are participating in this show. This involves coordinating installation times, curating placement and lots of other duties. My collaborator on this project is Courtney Davis of the Madison Public Library Foundation. She’s helping to organize a lot of the food, music and publicity, and this wouldn’t be possible without all of her help.

What types of artists are involved and what sort of artwork will be included?

With a hundred artist involved, the pieces are all over the place from paintings to installations to photos to video pieces and on and on. You can see some of the pieces and also in process pictures at this link. A lot of artists have responded to the old building and also to old library material in the building. From thousands of bookends to old card catalogs, it’s exciting to see what artists do with a project like this.

Why have you chosen to focus on the Madison Central Library? What is it about the space that inspired you to hold BOOKLESS here?

The inspiration for this show was the emptied out building. We are using behind-the-scenes offices and our amazing industrial basement area, which is usually not open to the public. With everything cleared out it’s this amazing open space that is just asking for some creative types to take over and make something great.

How has the library inspired some of the participating artists?

Many of the artists have totally changed course with their projects because of spending more time in the library space. A lot of it is being around other artists and also just responding to things still in the building or in particular areas of the building. Things like book carts can be inspiring but also just some of the leftover shelving and particular office spaces have worked their way into the artwork.

What sorts of activities will be part of the event?

We will have a great photo booth set up for people throughout the day. We will also have letterpress printing with Polka Press during the day and screenprinting stations in the evening. Sector 67 will print with their 3D printer and Artworking will help people make altered books during the daytime event. We also have working pneumatic tubes for people to ask our Library Oracle any question they want throughout the event! 

What aspect of BOOKLESS are you most excited about?

I’m most excited to just have so many people come experience this amazing event. With the library renovating it really is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity and people are really going all out to make this an unforgettable event. It’s a great way to say goodbye to the old space, but also to look into the future of where we are headed with an exciting new library on the horizon!

Why should someone come check out the event?

One hundred artists, one empty library, one day only … it’s not to be missed! We have a family event from 10 a.m.–2 p.m. and then a late night “party in the stacks,” so we’ve really got something fore everyone! (Plus, aren’t you curious to see why one of our artists spent ten hours hauling an entire dump truck worth of wood into the library today?)

BOOKLESS is held January 28 at the Madison Central Library. For more information, click here.

Photo courtesy of BOOKLESS.

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About This Blog

As managing editor at Madison Magazine, I'm also an unabashed arts enthusiast. Paintings, plays, music, movies—I'm intrigued by all forms of creative expression. I enjoy talking with artists and sharing their insights, challenges, inspirations and latest endeavors. Check in regularly for details on events, previews and reviews, artist interviews and more! 

– Katie Vaughn
Follow Katie on Twitter @katiemv

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