Exploring the arts community is a leisurely experience, usually. We take our time as we investigate this gallery, that studio, that performance group. But have you ever wanted to be fully immersed in Madison's arts scene, in all its diversity?
That's where Khala Ghali comes in. The outdoor event promises to be a happy riot of mixed-media art, painting, sculpture, dance, theater, and performance, all at the same time, all in a compact two blocks just off the Capitol Square. Khala Ghali will take place from 5 to 9 p.m. Friday night at the confluence of State, Mifflin and Carroll streets. A rain date is scheduled for Sept. 7.
"The idea came from the night markets of Hong Kong and the 'art streets' of India," says Yvonne Montoya, a UW-Madison graduate student and Khala Ghali volunteer. "We have a really nice lineup."
In this lineup: multimedia artist Mark Nelson; Mercury Players Theatre, who will present a rehearsal-in-progress; Kanopy Dance; performance artist Nicole Gruter; and many more, including improv poet Miriam Hall. "She normally does one-minute poems for a dollar," says Montoya. But since the event is meant to be entirely free, "she's going to ask for a song or a trick or something in response."
Khala Ghali will take place amid two prominent downtown art installations: Philosophers Grove, Jill Sebastian's array of bronze and granite stones at Mifflin Street; and Forum of Origin, Brower Hatcher's domed pavilion at State Street and Carroll Street. Look for the event to be "chaotic, but not crazy," says Montoya. "There should be chattering and talking and interacting. It's not your typical art scene. We're not going to have wine and cheese and classical music in the background."
The event is the result of a grant from the Madison Arts Commission -- specifically one of the city's BLINK grants for temporary art. Another recent BLINK project was the whimsical painting of seven Capitol Square bus shelters before they were razed.
"I'm new to Madison, so it's been a crash course in city planning," says Montoya of the grant process.