Wednesday, May 25, 2011


Ironically, Art-A-Whirl is sometimes depicted as a tornado. Didn’t expect that it would actually happen during the event and a few miles west during the galleries on Sunday. The tornado in North Minneapolis was horrible but it is frightening to imagine if it had shifted the east. Thousands of people were wandering around the neighborhood to visit the galleries. They would not know where to seek shelter. The buildings are old industrial factories but their glass is brittle.

Art-A-Whirl (AAW) is a fabulous event, which occurs mostly in Northeast Minneapolis (MN). Hundreds of artists open their studios featuring myriad forms of art. It officially commences on Friday night but most of the studios are open during Saturday and Sunday afternoon. It’s nice to attend a daytime art crawl. Visit for details.

AAW is concentrated in several buildings and some solo studios in the neighborhood. It’s a bit too far to walk but biking would be fine. A trolley takes people around to the larger buildings with an informative tour guide. Parking can be a hassle due to the popularity of the event. I arrive before the official opening at noon so that I can find parking nearby.

Ideas for improvement:
* Highlight building entries with an official AAW flag or sign. I found it frustrating to locate an open door;
* All locations need to be open when they are listed in the program directory;
* Better internal building signage. Northrup King was the best but I somehow missed the first floor of Northrup because I couldn’t find an entry door;
* Greeters distributing directories at entrances to each building would be great. Casket Arts had a friendly person at the front door but no one in the back;
* Trolleys should run every fifteen or twenty minutes;
* Bike racks would be helpful to reduce congestion;
* Partner with Green Expo folks for recycling and composting receptacles placed throughout the event. Artists could be encouraged to serve their treats on compostable materials;
* Mobile food trucks available with two or three at each of the large buildings; and,
* Invite performance artists to add to the mix by singing, dancing or performing in the lobbies or hallways of the buildings.

I feel honored to walk into the artist’s space, converse with the artist, and view their amazing creations. Many of the exhibitors are part-time since they have to support themselves with a full-time job but art is their passion. Art is in the eye of the beholder; everyone considers different things as beautiful. I wish that I had the funds to purchase artwork but instead I will highlight some of the best work in a future blog.

Writing a blog is art too?

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