Show Review of the Month Madison Chautauqua Festival of Art

June 2023, by Sunshine Artist editor

September 24-25, 2022; Madison Chautauqua Festival of Art, Madison, IN. Contact: Visit Madison, Kara Hinze, 601 W. 1st St., Madison, IN 47250; Phone: 812-571-2752; Email:; Website:; Application fee: $25; Space fees: $300 to $450; Space sizes: 10x15 to 10x20; 100% outdoors; Exhibitors: 200; Attendance estimate: 37,000. 

Compiled from FastAudit reports 

The Madison Chautauqua Festival of Art is always held on the last full weekend in September. Of the artists who reviewed 2022’s event, 93% said they would participate in this show again. 

A mixed media artist who made $2,000 would like to be invited back. 

One fiber/textile artist reported $4,200 in sales. “I love the setup and the ample space each vendor gets. This town is such a gem and so beautiful being close to the river. It is a lovely setting for this art fair,” this artist said. “This is only my second year in this show. It is well organized, and volunteers are there quickly when you need help. The traffic was great!” 

A fine craft artist who made $2,500 wants to do the show again because of its location and having good sales. 

An artist whose mediums were fine craft and fiber/textile had about $1,650 in sales. “We would give it one more shot. The sales were ... meh ... venue is beautiful. The show was kind of ‘sprawled out’ and, also, there seemed to be lots of people selling up on the main street in town. It seems all of this could actually result in lots of potential customers never even getting over to various areas of the sprawled-out venue,” this artist said. 

A fiber/textile artist who made $3,000 hopes to return, saying it is a fun event. This artist described the festival as well organized, friendly, helpful, and a great atmosphere with good sales. 

Sales for one arts and crafts artist totaled $8,600. This artist wants to return. 

An artist whose mediums were drawing and other did not report a sales total but said the organizers did a great job of letting people know where and when to park, unload, set up, and break down, and the volunteers were friendly. This artist commented on the judging procedure. “I have done several shows now and at other shows, I have spoken to the judges about my work and technique. I have done Chautauqua twice and I am not even sure a judge came to my booth,” this artist said. “I don't like leaving my booth for fear of missing the judges. At my last show, they put a sticker on our booth number so that we knew we had been judged. At that point, I felt better about leaving my booth to look at other artists. My work is unique, and many people mistake it for watercolors or flower pressing until I talk to them about my process. I know judges have lots to see but talking to an artist can make all the difference.” 

A mixed media artist who made $5,000 wants to participate again because “it is a good show for me, and I like the venue.” 

Sales for one photographer totaled $500. This artist enjoyed the setting and said Saturday was great, but Sunday was not as good. The artist would be in the show again. 

An artist whose mediums were jewelry, furniture, and lighting enjoyed the show. “Very nice show. Weather was a factor on attendance. Sunday wasn't very nice — had some high wind gusts. I will do the show again,” said this artist who did not report a sales total. 

A fiber/textile artist said, “We love the town! So quaint and nice people. We'd try a second time, but if sales weren't better ... we'd not go a third.” This artist did not report a sales total. 

An artist who listed the medium as other made $3,000 and thought the show was well managed, with a great venue and attendance. 

Attendance was high at the 2022 Madison Chautauqua Festival of Art, in Madison, Indiana. 
Photo courtesy of Laura Gardner Photography 
Artists Gean and Bill Bowen received the Best in Show award at the Madison Chautauqua Festival of Art for their work. They are a husband-and-wife team of artists. 
Photo courtesy of Laura Gardner Photography 

Promoter’s Self‑Review 

Kara Hinze said 2022’s Madison Chautauqua Festival of Art was a huge success. “We had 165 talented artists and craftsmen. The move in, setup, and move out went without any issues,” she said. “The weather was perfect for a fall festival. The attendance was high (estimating at least 37,000). Many artists reported to us they had record sales. I don’t think we could ask for anything more.” 

Visit Madison Indiana is the festival’s promoter, and Hinze commented on the feedback they received from artists. “We had many artists report to us that they had record sales on Saturday,” she said. “Sunday’s attendance was a bit slower, so sales were a bit slower that day.” 

Hinze said the festival’s planning committee always walks away from each event with a list of improvements it wants to make for the next year — both big and small. “Next year, we are going to prioritize new and larger signage to direct traffic to our festival,” she said. 

The best improvement they made that others might learn from was handing out charcuterie boxes to the artists late in the day on Saturday, which were very well received, Hinze said. “We also reorganized our information tent this year,” she said. “We had an area for sales, merchandise, and also a hidden area for storage. It was much more inviting.” 

Her message to those considering the show is, “We love our artists! We make every decision in the planning of the festival with the artists/craftsmen in mind. We strive to make all of our communications clear and organized. We are always open to suggestions and happy to put on the premier festival in southern Indiana.”