For those looking for a unique way to experience art this month, look no further than the 27th Annual Art-A-Whirl, a free open studio art tour in Northeast Minneapolis.
Art-A-Whirl, presented by the Northeast Minneapolis Arts Association, is fully in-person this year for the first time since the beginning of the pandemic. The event will take place May 20-22. The event is the largest open studio tour in the country.
Northeast Minneapolis is a unique place, said Brian Wagner, operations coordinator for NEMAA, in an email; there are many different artist studio buildings, artist co-ops and galleries all within the Northeast Arts District. This year, over 1,000 NEMAA member artists, galleries and businesses will participate in the event at over 60 locations.
“Art-A-Whirl is the most direct, up-close opportunity to experience the expansive NE Minneapolis arts scene,” Wagner said. “There truly is no other event to speak with artists, view, shop and enjoy the creative energy that surrounds art, all in one central location over a weekend.”
Whatever kind of art attendees are looking for, Art-A-Whirl probably has it, Wagner said. The event will offer a wide range of creatives, artists, crafts persons and artisans showing and selling their work, which includes ceramics, printmaking, jewelry, wild honey and more, Wagner said.
Artists can easily be found in an Art-A-Whirl directory, as well as online, so attendees can find exactly what they’re looking for, or discover something new.
There are plenty of family-friendly activities going on during the three-day event. For example, glass magnet making with Potekglass, or Open Clay Play with Clay Squared to Infinity. There will also be interactive art demonstrations, live music, a range of exhibitions and fashion shows. Wagner suggested attendees look through the activities list on nemaa.org to make a plan ahead of time.
After a full day of art viewing, attendees are sure to build up an appetite. Many Northeast restaurants, breweries and food trucks will be onsite or open nearby the Art-A-Whirl festivities. Attendees can also show their Art-A-Whirl “I Bought Art!” sticker to participating food and beverage businesses for deals throughout the weekend, Wagner said.
According to Wagner, it’s amazing to see the diverse, creative community in Minneapolis all “under one roof” and the support from the public of that community is truly special.
“As an artist myself, it’s easy to exist alone in your studio space, particularly with the last three years, but to see people interested in your creative process and take part in it is such a lovely reminder of this community,” Wagner said. “This year especially, we need that community. To reconnect, to engage, to experience. After all, art is meant to be shared.”