In the News

Scooter Software Gift Funds Bubbler Artist-in-Residence

This summer, Guatemalan native Richie Morales played the part of Artist-in-Residence for Madison Public Library’s Bubbler arts- and
maker-focused programming, which recently received Madison Public Library Foundation funding thanks to a $12,000 gift from Scooter Software, Inc.

Now, Morales is spending his time on the first floor of Central Library preparing for an October show at the Wisconsin Academy of Sciences, Arts & Letters’ James Watrous Gallery.

His paintings focus on breaking down what he sees as three problems in society: consumerism, privilege and ingenuity.

“My experience (in the Bubbler) was wonderful — even better than I expected,” he says. “I met people from all walks of life, from people without a home to people with a very stable economic situation.” He described the library staff as “always very welcoming and supportive.”

Morales says he particularly felt the impact of two Bubbler visitors, Lucas and Dennis. Lucas, a 12-year-old born in Madison with parents from Uruguay, was able to express himself more vividly with Morales’ help. “I am impressed and moved by how he connected with art as a way of expression of his thoughts and ideas at this early age,” says Morales, who even saw some of himself in Lucas. “As it was for me, this is also a way of finding himself.”

Dennis, described by Morales as “a man without a home in this city and yet with so much to tell,” shared his experiences and observations with the artist. “I was touched by his sensitivity toward art and storytelling,” Morales says. “He would share with me about his observations of people walking and him noticing their faces. If they would look stressed, anxious, (he would) greet them sometimes just to see who responds back and who will just ignore him.”

Morales said working in the Bubbler has had a profound effect on him personally. “Every person is a door to something else — a different perspective,” he says. “It is always enriching to be surrounded by different perspectives, so I definitely feel that I have grown as both an artist and a person. Not too many people know that it is actually hard for me to be so visible and available. I easily get nervous, so this experience definitely helped me in this way, too.”

Richie Morales works on one of his paintings in the Bubbler, located on the ground floor of Central Library, during his Artist-in-Residence stint in June.

Library Website