This weekend, at 24 venues across the city, some 300 of the city’s artists will be showing and selling their work at the Saint Paul Art Crawl. The seasonal artist-driven event happens twice a year, in spring and fall, conceived by the Art Collective 20 years ago in Lowertown. Indeed, the Lowertown/Downtown areas remain a locus for a lion’s share of art crawl happenings, but over time the festivities have spread west to include locations in the tony Mac/Groveland neighborhood and in the burgeoning Midway arts scene as well.
This fall, the festival is kicking off with a celebration at the Minnesota Museum of American Art. Beginning at 4:30 p.m., visitors to the launch party will find food and drink, and live music by the mellow acoustic duo Hot Date. Also: 262 Studios artist Alex Kuno will preview his ambitious three-part, site-specific installation, “The Children’s Crusade” (about which more later, in my second post this week). Beloved local artist Ta-Coumba Aiken and Schmidt Artist Lofts consultant Tom Nordyke will speak on importance of supporting artist communities. Then, right at 6 p.m., a drum circle led by glass artist Aaron Tafoya will officially herald the start of the fall art crawl. Thanks to the Saint Paul Saints, Pedicabs will be giving free rides from the museum’s downtown Project Space into Lowertown after the event.
There’s a lot to see and do at the art crawl – so much, it’s easy to be overwhelmed. It goes without saying, you’ll be seeing a lot of art studios and galleries as your make your way around the various warehouse spaces (find a full list of participants and special programs here).
Some suggestions: the visual art is a main attraction, of course, but do leave room in your schedule to take in work by the area’s performing artists, too. Black Dog Coffee and Wine Bar will have a steady rotation of live music every evening of the crawl: Other Country Ensemble on Friday night, and Midnight Choir on Saturday evening. Sendero Flamenco will open their Lowertown studio for the crawl as well and are offering nightly Studio Showcases of fusion belly dance and flamenco, including a full-length show, “The Women of the Dark Carnival.” And don’t miss the Artist Alley Mini-Fest Saturday and Sunday, hosted by the artists of 262 Studios – they’ll have food trucks, live music and lots of free family-friendly activities.
The 20th Anniversary Saint Paul Art Crawl will feature 300 artists in 24 building locations throughout St. Paul on October 4, 5 and 6: Friday (6 to 10 p.m.), Saturday (noon to 8 p.m.) and Sunday (noon to 5 p.m.). For a full schedule of events, special programs and participating artists, visit the festival website at www.stpaulartcrawl.org.