Our History

Madison Community Discourse began in October 2013. Artist and founder Mallory Shotwell began with an emphasis on community engagement.  Calling it “A Discourse on Love,” she began interviewing people on love, gathering wisdom from all backgrounds and ages. Asking philosophical questions on love, it created a community discourse where it allowed the participant to explore their own answer.

From the start, it was run by volunteers, led by artists, and supported by the community.  Programming was developed and included storytelling events, music, and many community building experiences in the first year.

In June of 2014, an exhibition brought together 45 artists from all over the city of Madison. This immersive experience encouraged the community to connect and engage with love: its expressions, and its spectrum of experiences.  There were many interactive elements available. The art was displayed throughout the month of June at Absolutely Art. Over 700 viewers and participants came to the reception.

It continued the following year in a second community study.  This year MCD studied Courage as it reached out further in the community with more partnerships, events, artist collaborations, and opportunities.  There was a second annual art exhibition held at Art In.  Featuring 40 artists, this exhibition explored “What Courage Looks Like” in the city of Madison.

The year of 2016 begins the study on happiness.  Exploring culture, religion, experiences, philosophy, and art in Madison, we are calling on the city to share their stories and experiences on happiness.