Northeast Minneapolis’ annual Art-A-Whirl festival started over 20 years ago with the ingenious idea that artists would open up their studios to visitors once a year. Since then, the event has grown into something the founders probably never imagined, with art, music, food, performance, and more exploding at the seams. While you can certainly just show up and wander around, trusting serendipity to lead you toward the art or impromptu performance that you need to see, sometimes it’s good to be armed with a schedule so you can be sure not miss the especially cool stuff.
This year, we’re really excited about some whirling performances from the likes of Toki Wright, Caitlin Karolczak, and Borealis Dance. Here’s a brief rundown of what we think you shouldn’t miss.
Public Functionary: The Longest Bridge EP Release
Before Art-A-Whirl, before northeast Minneapolis became an artists' hotspot, northeast and north Minneapolis were divided by violent segregation, with poor and working-class European Americans pitted against their African American neighbors. In The Longest Bridge, a new EP by GP jacob (Jake Varden) and produced by Mamadu (Toki Wright), that history of ugly racism, along with stories of solidarity and resilience, is explored. Come check out this new album with performances by GP jacob, North Side duo Khem Clan, and DJ KEEZY. Special prints will also be for sale by visual artist KNZ.
Where and when: 7-10 p.m. Friday (the exhibition “Mark Schoening: Shape Shifter” will be on view throughout Art-A-Whirl). Public Functionary, 1400 12th Ave. NE, Minneapolis. $5.
For three years in a row, artists Caitlin Karolczak and Jaime Carrera created epic performance art at Art-A-Whirl, combining their penchants for risqué subversiveness, durational pieces of ritual, and spectacle. Though, sadly, Carrera passed away in March, Karolczak carries on the tradition this year, teaming up with another one of Carrera’s frequent collaborators, Michael Cimino, for a piece dedicated to their friend and mentor. “Civilian" transforms viewers into voyeurs — and occasional participants — to examine American patriotism and related stereotypes through sex, ritual, banality, and satire. Outside of the specific performance hours (Saturday at 5 p.m. and Sunday at 2 p.m.), Karolczak and Cimino will randomly fall in and out of character during Art-A-Whirl at Karolczak’s studio.
When and Where: 5 p.m. Saturday, 2 p.m. Sunday (plus additional unscheduled performances). The California Building, Studio #514, 2205 California St., NE, Minneapolis. Free. Borealis Dance: Found in the Water
Three and a half years ago, Borealis Dance relocated from Austin, Texas, to Minneapolis, where they’ve taken up shop at the Grain Belt Bottling House in Northeast. For Art-A-Whirl, the company, led by artistic director Danielle Ricci, presents “Found in the Water” a collaboration with sculptor Barbara Bridges, an artist who uses rescued power objects and fabricated components in a variety of media. The new work, which investigates the quality of water in communities, will take place very hour on Saturday and Sunday, in “pop-up” performances amid Bridges’ installation.
When and Where: There will be performances every hour beginning at 12:30 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday, Grain Belt Bottling House, 79 13th Ave. NE, Minneapolis. Free. My Colours Are Bizee and Cool Girls Issue 1 release
Husband-and-wife artist team Frank and Christina Lyon, otherwise known as Ouecha, have named their Art-A-Whirl exhibit after their baby — who doesn’t exist yet. The collection of drawings, taken from their larger body of work on paper, will be shown alongside the release of a new publication, Cool Girls, whose first issue, “On Dreaming,” explores identity, relationships, and existence in the digital age. It all takes place inside a new Northeast gallery located in the garage of freelance art director John Hardy, called a little cube. In addition to the visuals, there’ll be plenty of music, with John Hardy, Frank Lyon, and an assortment of guests playing pretty much all weekend. Paper Sleeves will perform on Saturday from 3-5 p.m.
When and Where: a little cube, 1139 Monroe St. NE, Minneapolis (garage faces large parking lot on Quincy St.). 6-10 p.m. Friday; noon to 8 p.m. Saturday; noon to 5 p.m. Sunday. Free.
These events might also be up your alley:
Fly Away Performance Event
The Water Bar