Arts & Culture

Wisconsin appreciates the arts, from film, music, and dance to writing and the visual arts. You'll find it all on the University of Wisconsin–Madison campus, every day. We have ten museums and galleries, five theaters, and five concert halls. There are more than 1,500 performing arts events on campus each year. Artists, speakers, politicians, and writers regularly visit the university. And the city of Madison supplements the campus art offerings with a variety of events and venues, most notably the Madison Museum of Contemporary Art and the Overture Center.

Chazen Museum of Art

The Chazen Museum of Art is first and foremost an educational resource for UW–Madison students and faculty. The museum actively collaborates with academic departments and faculty members to integrate its collections, exhibitions, and programs with their curricula. The Chazen is home to the second-largest collection of art in Wisconsin and features over 20,000 works. The museum has 39,000 square feet of exhibition space dedicated to the exhibition of its permanent collection, which includes American and European paintings, sculpture, drawings and watercolors, prints, applied and decorative arts, and over 300 photographs postdating World War II.


The Cinematheque is a coalition of UW–Madison academic departments and student film groups dedicated to showcasing films that would otherwise never reach Madison screens. Every Friday and Saturday night during fall and spring, the Cinematheque screens films for free in one of the finest projection facilities in Wisconsin. It regularly showcases archival and other rare prints from around the world.

Dance Program

The UW–Madison dance program is a leader and innovator in the field of dance and takes the concept of the "thinking dancer" into the twenty-first century. On Fridays during the academic year, the Dance Department presents a dance or arts-related forum, bringing the UW–Madison community and the local community presentations, panel discussions, auditions, showings, and much more.

School of Music

The UW–Madison School of Music is the home to a comprehensive selection of performance ensembles, bands, and programs such as the Black Music Ensemble, Concert Band, Concert Choir, Javanese Gamelan Ensemble, Marching Band/Varsity Band, Symphony Orchestra, University Opera, and Wind Ensemble, just to name a few. Many of these ensembles and bands are open to nonmajors as well as majors and host numerous on-campus performances.

University Theatre

The University Theatre presents stimulating theatre for audiences of all types and ages. The Theatre produces plays from ancient to modern times and integrates them into the academic curriculum. It also provides laboratory opportunities for student and faculty actors, designers, directors, and technicians.

Wisconsin Film Festival

Presented by the UW Arts Institute in association with the Department of Communication Arts, the Wisconsin Film Festival features 150 films in seven theaters over eight days every April. The festival gives students the opportunity to experience new American independent and world cinema premieres.

Wisconsin Union Theater

The Wisconsin Union Theater is Madison's historic hall located on Lake Mendota, right next to the Memorial Union's famed Terrace. The greats have been playing and speaking here since 1939, and every year the Union Theater hosts new and diverse programming for lively and inquiring audiences.