Art-a-Whirl Virgin

21 May

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:

Even on a 90°day a couple of the glassblowers gave visitors a fiery demonstration

yikes – I didn’t want to get too close


Hand-blown glass at the Green Machine Gallery featuring Marlo Cronquist and Nicole Fierce

more hand-blown glass at Green Machine Gallery (I bought the purple vase!)

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.

“Taiu (Lands)” acrylic on canvas by Adu Gindy © Adu Gindy

unknown title by Christopher A. Williams © Christopher A. Williams

photo: Rare Bird Jewelry by Micaela Clark, from the Repurposed collection

“All You Really Want is Right Here” by T.Young 2012 © T.Young

“Breaking Light 2” by Jil Evans. © Jil Evans

Sharra Frank‘s studio. Organized, but bright and playful!

a work in progress

look at all of those beads!

A finished work, “Tango” mirror, by Sharra Frank © Sharra Frank

“Pretty Jane & the Length of Her Dollar” by Ray Becoskie. © Ray Becoskie

“5 Buffalo” necklace in sterling silver by Susan Frerichs. Photo:

“The Bonapartes” fine art tile by Sheryl Tuorila

A jeweled Mr. Bonaparte

Mr. Bonaparte, himself

“Little Boy Blue” also by Sheryl Tuorila

“Tangerine Highway” by Eyenga Bokamba

The pastel drawing which I named “The Electric Lady” by Calvin deRuyter (which I bought)

another purchase, an abstract American Flag by Bill Wolfson

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!

À demain,



One Response to “Art-a-Whirl Virgin”


  1. Check it out: Buy Some Damn Art « One Stylish Life - June 6, 2012

    […] a lover of original art – if you have any questions about that, see my post about buying original art.  So, I am always on the lookout for great new artists and places to buy their art that are within […]

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