Madison Arts and Cultural District


Sitting prominently on the Ohio River between the hubs of Cincinnati and Louisville, downtown Madison presents an outstanding collection of early American architecture - representing the cultural history of the river, founding of the state of Indiana, and the nation's expansion westward. 

Beautifully preserved, historic in nature, but, interestingly progressive and contemporary, it has the fresh vibe of residents who are choosing to live 'off the grid' in a rural yet, urban setting. The natural and built environment invites the visitor and inspires the artist to tell the story with their art, their words, and images that are unique to this lovely little city. 

Madison's history is deeply rooted in arts, crafts, and architecture. Every corner lies a history designed by traditional craftsmen, architects and master builders from the East Coast and the South. It is not unusual to find options for live music, artist receptions, figure drawing events, drum circles, painting classes, a play, yoga or massage, culinary event, poetry reading, a farmer's market, and a book review all in one day!


The arts surround every part of Madison. The Broadway Fountain, bought by the local Independent Order of Odd Fellows as a souvenir from the Philadelphia Centennial Exposition of 1876, is a community landmark. The elegantly designed Crystal Beach pool documents the 1930s Works Progress Administration. Impressive murals, mosaics, and sculpture continue to be added to the urban landscape by local artists. 

In 2011, the Madison Consolidated Schools began the Madison Fine Arts Academy, offering fine art classes as part of its core curriculum. 75 students currently enrolled, with a goal of 10% of the student body to be enrolled in the future. As a result, students have become more involved in local arts and culture. 

Madison has been home to sculptor George Grey Bernard, Hollywood film star, Irene Dunne, and contemporary potter/artist Victoria Mackenzie Childs. Regionally known artists such as Harland Hubbard, J.T. Taylor, and William McKendree Snyder are equally promoted. 

The river valley has long been appreciated by Hollywood and has been the setting of several films, including "The Town” (1943), "Some Came Running" (1958), and "Madison" (1999). 

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Photos courtesy of the Madison Area Arts Alliance.