By OnMilwaukee Staff Writers   Published Dec 22, 2009 at 5:36 AM

So, you've mastered recycling, but haven't quite figured out composting yet. It's OK. You're far from alone.

At this point, the green movement is nothing new, but that doesn't mean there aren't those of us still waiting for the right time to jump on board. The Milwaukee Art Museum says that time is Jan. 30, at its first Green Fair, 1o a.m. to 5 p.m.

Hosted by the Chipstone Foundation, a decorative arts foundation whose mission is preserving and interpreting its collection as well as stimulating research and education, the fair is designed to demonstrate how simple the transition to Earth-friendly can be.

The event kicks off with a green marketplace, where visitors can browse and purchase environmentally-friendly goods from local vendors such as Rishi Tea, Outpost Natural Foods, Olive Organic Living and Future Green. The marketplace will also include local green non-profits, such as Growing Power and the Milwaukee Green Building Alliance, presenting information on ways to live a greener life.

"A few years ago, the notion of buying green was barely on anybody's radar screen; today Green products are everywhere," says Jonathan Prown, director of the Chipstone Foundation.

"With this rise in public awareness has come a growing array of products that spuriously claim to be green but that still rely on problematic modes of production or shipping. The Green Fair will allow museum visitors to meet the best and brightest makers, growers, thinkers and retailers in the greater Milwaukee area, and to gain a better understanding of this new and enlightened way of reforming our material world."

Simultaneously, the exhibition "Green Furniture: Sustainable Design in the 21 Century," will be on view (through March 14). The exhibit focuses on the concept of sustainable design, which centers not only around a responsible use of materials and methods of manufacture but also on issues of object life span, energy usage and recycling / disposal.

The exhibition explores how 21st-century furniture makers seek to modify our aesthetic expectations, especially when it comes to forms that are multifunctional, recyclable or made of alternative materials. Work by contemporary artists will be featured alongside historical objects, exploring roots of the green idea in furniture design.

Visitors exploring the green marketplace need only look outside to see designer Hongtao Zhou's snow furniture demonstration. He will create furniture out of ice and snow from the museum grounds. In addition, a variety of artists included in the Green Furniture exhibition will demonstrate different green building techniques throughout the day. Visitors are encouraged to participate and learn how to build eco-friendly, fun furniture such as newspaper stools.

Being environmentally conscious affects all aspects of a person's life. With this in mind, green community leaders will come together in the museum's Lubar Auditorium from 1 to 3 p.m., to discuss the Green movement in relation to their different practices.

Ken Dunn, founder of Chicago City Farm, will discuss thinking green in the Midwest; James Godsil of Sweetwater Organics will discuss eating green; Nik Kovac, a Milwaukee alderman, will discuss voting green; while the Cedarburg architects Kubala Washatko will discuss building green.

Green Furniture Galllery Talks
Tuesday, Jan. 26, 1:30 p.m.
With Hongtao Zhou, guest curator

Tuesday, Feb. 23, 1:30 p.m.
With Ethan Lasser, curator, Chipstone Foundation

MAM After Dark
Friday, Jan. 15, 5 p.m.-midnight
Carpool, snowshoe, or take the bus to the museum for an eco-friendly evening your conscience can be at ease with. This popular after-hours art happening regularly features a DIY Studio, photo booth, music by Radio Milwaukee DJs, exclusive access to the galleries, appetizers, cash bar and more.