This Sunday, July 9, Bike the Art is back for its third tour of the season. Bike the Art is a monthly occurrence that takes participants on a bike tour through Madison to explore art displayed by local artists and organizations. The event is free and will begin at the Madison Public Library on West Mifflin Street at 1:30 and make its way around town to visit a variety of arts venues/ before concluding at One-One-Thousand on Bryan Street at 5 pm.
Trent Miller, Coordinator at The Bubbler says Bike the Art allows people to “experience the art of Madison in a fun, healthy way.”
This weekend’s event will be particularly hands on. Participants will start at the Madison Public Library at The Bubbler, where they will learn about memory cloths and will be given the chance to create their own memory cloth. Then participants will visit Madison Space Circus where they will learn about circus arts and will have chance to try juggling, hooping, and aerial yoga. Other stops include a visit to Baraboo Woodworks where the participants will learn about the art of wood furnishings followed by a visit to One-One-Thousand, which will feature Japanese shibori dyeing.
Bike the Art is still relatively new, with the first event taking place in September. Bike the Art was created to get more people to visit local art galleries while also enjoying the sights of the city. Various art organizations support and sponsor Bike the Art, including The Bubbler, Arts + Literature Laboratory, Visual Edible Audible, and Madison Community Discourse.
The idea behind Bike the Art comes from combining two of Madison’s favorite pastimes. Jolynne Roorda, the Art Director at the Art + Literature Lab, says, “the event ties in a passion for biking with a passion for art.”
Organizers meet months before to discuss potential art exhibits to visit for the season. Because it is an outdoor event, the season starts in May and goes until October. Each month offers new activities and art to experience, these activities include artist talks, art showings and performances.
Participants do not need to attend the whole event, but can meet up with the group anytime during the tour. Participants are not required to bike, either — they can walk, or take any form of transportation they wish. Organizers say the main thing is to go out and explore art in the community. Bike the Art is open to people of all ages, kids and adults alike.
Although new, Bike the Art is already a success in the community. “I see new people each month and I also see regulars” Roorda says.
Bike the Art is more than just visiting local art galleries. The event, Roorda says, is meant to “build the community through the arts” by “creating connections and relationships.” The art that is featured each month is diverse. Bike the Art aims to expose participants to different types of art from a variety of different artists and cultures. In the past, participants have seen art that features topics like feminism, and LGBT+ issues.
Mostly, Bike the Art is meant to make people “experience something in the art community that they haven’t before,” Roorda says. In addition to collaborating with local art organizations and businesses, Bike the Art is also partnered with Machinery Row Bicycles. The business loans its expertise to the event by providing free bicycle safety checks. During Bike the Art, a bike technician will accompany the tour to assist with any flat tires or other mechanical issues.
The event makes clear that there are many types of art to experience in Madison; it is “not limited to art galleries,” says Roorda.