After two years of pandemic complications, Art-A-Whirl—which dubs itself the largest open-studio arts tour in the country—is expected to draw thousands of visitors to northeast Minneapolis throughout the weekend, May 20-22.
Attendees will have the opportunity to discover and purchase original artwork from local artisans, as well as enjoy live music at the neighborhood’s food trucks, restaurants, and breweries. Here’s a brief download:
In person, with some online opportunities: The event is hosted by the Northeast Minneapolis Arts Association (NEMAA), an organization dedicated to supporting artists in the area since 1994, and for the past two years, NEMAA has had to come up with creative solutions to safely continue its mission amid the pandemic. In 2021, Art-A-Whirl was a hybrid online-offline event. This year, guests are welcomed back in person. Still, for those unable to show up to the studios, many artists have made their works available for viewing or purchase online.
A chance to support Ukraine: NEMAA is also hosting a fundraiser for Ukraine, with several vendors donating 15% of their net sales to support organizations that are providing meals, medicine, shelter, and other forms of assistance for Ukrainian refugees.
About the history: Art-A-Whirl has a long history in Minneapolis. NEMAA, in collaboration with the McKnight Foundation and the City of Minneapolis, began working to establish the Northeast Minneapolis Arts District in 2002. Since then, this formal geographic area has grown into one of the most thriving arts communities in the country. Unfortunately, the pandemic caused the cancellation of what would’ve been Art-A-Whirl’s 25th Anniversary celebration in 2020.
Today, this artistic neighborhood in northeast Minneapolis consists of many 20th-century industrial buildings converted into galleries and studios, with the Northrup King building alone housing over 300 artists and small businesses. The formal Arts District has breathed new life into this neighborhood and created opportunities for artists, contributing to Minneapolis’ reputation as a locus for Midwestern artists.
- Friday, May 20: 5 p.m. – 10 p.m.
- Saturday, May 21: Noon – 8 p.m.
- Sunday, May 22: Noon – 5 p.m.