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Podcast: Making space for creativity in Madison

Checking in with the founders of 702WI and Arts + Literature Laboratory.

Checking in with the founders of 702WI and Arts + Literature Laboratory.

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Illustration by Rachal Duggan.

Illustration by Rachal Duggan.

What does it takes to create new space, and by extension better support, for writers, artists, and other creative folks in Madison?

We caught up with 702WI founder Mary Morgan and Arts + Literature Laboratory (ALL) directors Rita Mae Reese and Jolynne Roorda last week to talk about the challenges of running an arts space in Madison, and the variety of needs they work to fulfill.

702WI (named for its street address and Wisconsin, or “writer incubator”) opened up last month on East Johnson next to Forequarter and across from the Caribou Tavern. It’s a co-working, event, and gallery space with eclectic, mid-century modern vibes — complete with a retro electric fireplace — and is geared toward writers and lit-loving creatives. It was founded by Mary Morgan and Reading Group Choices, an organization that recommends books for local book clubs. One observer has hailed it as potentially the world’s smallest co-working space.

ALL opened more than a year ago in a red-brick, 1930s-era building on Winnebago Street. It provides event and gallery space, and hosts regular talks, workshops, and performances. (Full disclosure: Some of those performances are organized in partnership with Tone Madison.) Give our conversation a listen, and don’t forget to subscribe to the Tone Madison podcast on Apple Podcasts.

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