To my mind, there are two kinds of shoppers: bargain shoppers and recreational shoppers. Madison has promotions this week for both kinds of retail adventurers.
For bargain shoppers, there’s the three-day Slice of Summer Sidewalk Sale, July 26-28. Lemon-shaped balloons and colorful banners will help you find participating retailers. A bonus: those stores will be serving complementary lemonade.
During a Slice of Summer, participating stores will be open 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Thursday and Friday, plus 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday. You’ll find plenty of bargains as Madison’s merchants clear out their summer merchandise.
What about that other kind of shopper – the recreational shopper? This woman (and she usually is a woman!) is not focused on price or finding a certain something on her list. She’s on an adventure to find the new and unusual, the one-of-a-kind, the first-on-her block item. She favors whimsy over practicality. She wants to bring home something that expresses her personality.
She’s more likely to take along a friend or two on her expedition. They are more likely to stop for a glass of wine, a meal or maybe dessert and coffee. These women are looking for an experience.
For this recreational shopper, I highly recommend the Fourth Friday Art Jam, sponsored each month, April through December, by the Madison Main Street Program. Art Jam celebrates all the arts – visual and performing. Art galleries are open late and often have special exhibitions.
This Friday, for example, painter Gigi Straub will open her new exhibit, “Circle of Life,” from 6to9 p.m.at Carlson’s Art Gallery, Jefferson and Second streets. Gigi is a highly original and spiritual painter whose works will lift your spirits.
There will be art displayed outside in the alley near Art on Main, 309 W. Main St. That’s the home of the many artists and artisans of the Madison Art Club. Don’t miss the masterpieces local artists have painted on the outside wall of the building.
Village Lights Bookstore,110 E. Main St., will host a July 27 opening for painter Maureen O’Hara Pesta and photographer Jesse Pesta, who are mother and son. For their joint exhibition “Urban and Rural,” the mother will show her bright, spontaneous plein air paitnings of rural life, while her son will display gritty black-and-white images of life in New York City. The exhibit will run through Sept. 25.
You’ll also see street musicians, such as local songwriter Kriss Luckett-Ziesemer, who sings her heart out in front of Madison Nut and Candy, 207 E. Main St.
After an evening of recreational shopping during Fourth Friday Art Jam, I usually finish out the evening with coffee and a snack at Gallery 115, at115 E. Main St. This is the studio-gallery of the talented Eric Phagan. They stay open until 9 p.m. Live music wafts from Eric’s studio loft and there are delicious desserts to choose from. Ah, life is good!