Head North: Explore Art in Wisconsin This Summer

By CGN Staff

With many of us eager to stretch our travel legs this summer  – to make up for all we missed during the last one  –  an easy trip, or two, around Wisconsin to visit the state’s many destinations for art will satisfy your wanderlust as well as your cultural cravings. 

Check out these highlights on now, and hit the road! 


Mary Giles, Fading Light, 2007, waxed linen, fine copper wire, and fine iron wire, 13 x 17” D, Racine Art Museum, gift of Jim Harris. Photo: Petronella J. Ytsma. Part of Collection Focus: Mary Giles thru July 3.

Racine Art Museum

The Racine Art Museum holds the largest and most significant contemporary craft collection in North America, with more than 9,500 objects from nationally and internationally recognized artists. 

A trip to RAM is less than 60 miles from downtown Chicago.  


Robert Indiana, The American LOVE, 1966-99. Photo by Kevin J. Miyazaki / Sculpture Milwaukee

Sculpture Milwaukee

Sculpture Milwaukee’s fifth exhibition will be co-curated by Theaster Gates and Michelle Grabner, starting June 25th through fall 2022. One of the largest annual outdoor exhibitions to focus on contemporary sculpture and public art practices, the works selected by Gates and Grabner will be explored through programming and educational initiatives. 

Also local community and corporate investment has meant that a growing number of works previously exhibited at Sculpture Milwaukee have been purchased and donated so that they stay on public view in the city. 


The Museum of Wisconsin Art is located about 45 minutes from downtown Milwaukee in West Bend, WI 

Museum of Wisconsin Art (MoWA)

For 60 years MoWA has evolved from a small hometown gallery to one of the leading regional museums in the country, devoted to exploring the art and culture of Wisconsin. 

On view through July 3 is Artists Without Borders, an exhibition that showcases the works of nine artists—all with roots abroad and currently residing in Wisconsin—to explore their distinct takes on the relationship between art and place.


Mary Cassatt, Spanish Girl Leaning on a Window Sill, ca. 1872. Oil on canvas, 24 3/8 × 19 in. Collection of Manuel Piñanes García-Olías, Madrid. Photo, Cuauhtli Gutierrez

Milwaukee Art Museum

The Milwaukee Art Museum is open to the public again, with several exhibitions planned for this summer, including Americans in Spain: Painting and Travel, 1820–1920, the first major exhibition to focus on the influence of Spanish art and culture on American painting. Jun 11–Oct 3


Nick Cave and Bob Faust, Amends

Madison Museum of Contemporary Art 

MMoCA's modern building, designed by world-renowned architect Cesar Pelli, offers 51,500 square feet of interior space, as well as a 7,100-square-foot rooftop sculpture garden. MMoCA also has one of the premier institutional collections of Chicago Imagist works. 

This summer AMENDS: Nick Cave and Bob Faust runs Jun 19 – Oct 24. AMENDS is a community-based, interactive art project. The internationally known artists and collaborators created the three-component project in 2020 after the killing of George Floyd by police in Minneapolis. The ultimate goal of AMENDS is to lay the groundwork for the eradication of racism. AMENDS will bring together the artists, community leaders in the Madison area and the state, and members of the public to complete the three components of the project.

Painter Annabeth Marks is equally concerned with acts of construction and of deconstruction. Her work considers the boundaries of painting in both process and form. For her contribution to the Return to the Real Marks presents a new body of work in a site-specific installation paintings.

John Michael Kohler Art Center

Located along the western shore of Lake Michigan, north of Milwaukee but before you head towards Green Bay and Door County, the John Michael Kohler Art Center (JMKAC) in Sheboygan offers a range of serious, dynamic exhibitions that consider art in Wisconsin and well beyond. 

Return to the Real, on view through January 9, 2022, responds to the following question: As our lived experience is increasingly mediated by our screens, how can art remind us of the rich rewards of the real? Through a series of exhibitions, performances, and events that foreground the multisensory experience of viewing art in person, the series title is derived from art critic and historian Hal Foster’s influential 1996 book Return of the Real, a theoretical exploration of contemporary art grounded in the materiality of bodies and sites. The work featured in the series affirms the power of objects and human presence, emphasizes the nuances and subtleties that virtual viewing cannot provide or capture, and honors the irreplaceable experience of confronting—and of being confronted by—a physical work of art.


Arts Mineral Point 

The creative community of Mineral Point offers a haven for working artists as well as a bucolic weekend art destination southwest of Madison, towards the Iowa border. Enjoy late night shopping, live music, workshops, artist receptions and more. 

The 8th annual Paint the Point live painting fundraiser takes place August 11–14.