It’s true – until this past weekend, I was a stranger to the creative tornado that is Art-a-Whirl. What is this devastatingly fantastic thing?, you ask. Art-a-Whirl is an annual art festival put on by the Northeast Minneapolis Arts Association (NEMAA). On the third weekend of May every year all of the artists’ studios in Northeast Minneapolis open their doors to the public. Rumor has it Art-a-Whirl is one of the largest open studio tours in the country! I believe it – I went both Saturday and Sunday and only managed to get to four out of the dozen or so buildings on the tour! Here’s a tiny peek at what I discovered….
I started my Art-a-Whirl journey at the FOCI (Minnesota Center for Glass Arts) building on East Hennepin:
Over the course of the rest of the day Saturday and Sunday, I moved onto three other sites, the Northrup King Building, the California Building, and the Casket Arts Building, all fabulous converted factories full of artists’ lofts with high ceilings.
I did well – saw a ton of great art and chatted with both artists and collectors. Next year I need to a) start my tour of the studios the minute they open on Friday night so that I can get to all of them and b) have a much bigger budget ($10k would suffice).
My first Art-a-Whirl experience confirms one constant piece of advice I give: BUY MORE ORIGINAL ART. It’s fun, you’re supporting amazing, talented people and it’s not outrageously expensive, if you know where to go (I bought one handblown glass vase, one acrylic drawing and one acrylic painting this weekend for a total of $215!). So GET OUT THERE and BUY SOME ART already!