The Inception of MadArt

AlleyArt Alison Milliman first conceived of MadArt while living abroad for a year in Melbourne, Australia. While there, she discovered a lively street art scene filled with emerging artists, whose works were often hidden down alleys and in unusual parts of the city. In visiting these locations, her interest in emerging artists and the joy of finding art in unexpected places began to form the core of MadArt’s mission. Further inspiration was found one day when Milliman was visiting her local neighborhood shops and inside their storefront windows was a show of contemporary artwork sharing primary space with everyday retail objects. Immediately upon experiencing this unexpected visual encounter, MadArt was conceived. After returning to the States, Milliman fostered a keen desire to rethink how and where we view art in our communities, exploring the idea of creating opportunities to see artwork outside the familiar venues. With The Window Art Project in 2009, MadArt’s first show exhibited artwork in storefront windows in Madison Park, Seattle and Milliman’s mission to help people “discover art in unexpected ways” was realized.


The MadArt Team

  • Photo by James Harnois

    Alison Wyckoff Milliman, Founder

    Alison Milliman is a creative leader in the Seattle arts community, a philanthropist, and a visionary. MadArt Seattle, her invention, is a program that supports the work of emerging artists who showcase their art in surprising venues, themes, and creations. Her work in the community includes leadership positions as chair of the School of the Arts Board at University of Washington, past board member of the University of Washington Foundation Board, and involvement in numerous other non-profits. A graduate of the University of Washington with a degree in art history, Alison studied at Christies’ Fine and Decorative Art’s Course in London and launched her own appraisal business, Aspen Antique Appraisals, in San Francisco and Seattle. Alison and her husband, Glen, live in Seattle and have three children.

  • harnois_emily1_lowres

    Photo by James Harnois

    Emily Kelly, Director

    Emily Kelly is an artist, arts educator, and administrator joining the MadArt team from her native Texas, where she was Interim Director of the Visual Arts Center (VAC), a contemporary art space at The University of Texas at Austin. In addition to her work with the VAC, Emily has been an active member of MASS Gallery, a collectively-run nonprofit gallery and project space. With a background in community-based arts programming, Emily is interested in the dynamic ways contemporary art can act as a catalyst for community development and social engagement. She holds a BS in Marketing and Fine Arts from the University of New Orleans and an MA in Art Education with a specialized portfolio in Art and Cultural Management and Entrepreneurship from The University of Texas at Austin.

  • Photo by Tim Detweiler

    Katie Wood, Studio Manager

    Katie Wood joined MadArt’s team in 2014, just before the opening of MadArt Studio. Raised in Seattle, she graduated from Gettysburg College in Pennsylvania with a degree in Cultural Anthropology. Her diverse interests then led her to the mountains of Colorado, a Bellevue tech company, a circus school, bodywork, and public art. Katie has spent much of this time involved in office management, event planning, and communications. She worked for several years overseeing shows and daily operations at Emerald City Trapeze Arts in SoDo, before deciding to shift gears from performing to visual arts. In addition to MadArt, she has worked with local organizations including Art with Heart and Bilinear Art Consulting. When not immersed in the studio, Katie also owns her own practice in Soma Neuromuscular Integration, a type of functional massage therapy.

  • harnois_charlotte

    Photo by James Harnois

    Charlotte Hoerber, Communications Coordinator

    Charlotte Hoerber comes to MadArt fresh off a move to Seattle from California. She holds a BA in Linguistics and Art History from the University of California, Berkeley, where she also received a special commendation for her work in South Asian art and languages, studying for a term in New Delhi. After graduation, Charlotte worked in various job sectors across the US, including the Admissions and Memberships departments at the Seattle Art Museum, before settling into the world of art and art administration through her role at MadArt. She enjoys working alongside such a creative and dynamic team and sees her role at the studio as a unique opportunity to communicate directly with the public through their experience of large-scale art.