This weekend, Art-A-Whirl is here once again, a sure sign that spring has arrived "for real this time" in the Twin Cities. The festival, which features over 500 artists in over 60 locations throughout northeast Minneapolis, is a chance to visit artist studios, but also take part in a diverse array of events that pop up for the weekend.
Here's a list of some of the coolest things that are whirling this weekend while you're bopping about Northeast.
Duniya Drum and Dance takes over the Ritz Theater during Art-A-Whirl this year for its seventh annual Fakoly Dance & Drum Project, presented with support from Ballet of the Dolls. The project includes three days of workshops, taught by master drummers and dancers from Guinea, and a performance on Saturday night. The group started about eight years ago as a way to bring guest artists in order "to offer a caliber of African drum and dance that isn't represented in the Twin Cities," says Whitney McClusky, director of Duniya. Eventually, Duniya grew into a performance group, with drummer Fode Bongoura acting as host. The performance on Saturday features master African drummers and dancers from the National Ballet of Guineé, along with local artists from Duniya Drum and Dance, Voice of Culture, and ShapeShift.
Where: The Ritz Theater (
Franconia will be hosting an opening reception for Alexa Horochowski's new exhibition, "Mundane Train," this Friday night at its Casket Arts Building space, Franconia in the City. The body of work will include sculptures made out of everyday objects that take on a more formal, monumental appearance as they are cast in iron or stacked up on top of each other to create architectural forms. Traffic cones, cinder blocks, and railroad ties will become the makings of an imaginary archeological site visitors can walk through during their Art-A-Whirl adventures. The exhibition will be on view throughout the weekend, and will run through June 8.
Where: Franconia in the City (681 17th Ave NE)
When: Public 5-10 p.m. Friday (on view through June 8)
How much: Free
Franconia will also take up shop throughout the weekend in the Casket Arts Community Complex, where New London-based artists Lisa Bergh and Andrew Nordin will display their Traveling Museum, presenting excerpts from their rural aesthetic initiative exhibit, "Holus Bolus," which the duo have been taking all around the state. Franconia's outdoor festivities also include music by DJ Elise Bremer and fortune telling by Franconia's artists in residence on Friday night; spin art, face painting, and zine making on Saturday and Sunday; and food and beverages provided by Taco Taxi all weekend.
Where: Casket Arts Community Complex (681 17th Ave. NE)
When: All weekend
How much: Free
For the third year in a row, artists Caitlin Karolczak and Jaime Carrera are teaming up to create a performance-art piece on the edgier side of the Whirl. For "Face" Karolczak, known for her dark figure paintings drawing inspiration from an assortment of provocative/vintage images, will be using performance artist Jaime Carrera's body as a canvas for his own portrait. Carrera will shift from stillness to movement during the process of what will surely be strange and interesting experience. In addition, Karolczak will be holding an open student event throughout the weekend, where Carrera will have several framed, limited-edition prints of his recent photographic work available for purchase.
Where: Solar Arts Building at Caitlin Karolczak's studio (
For your art-a-whirl itinerary, why not throw some storytelling into the mix? Rockstar Storytellers Laura Bidgood, Amy Salloway, Courtney McClean, and Ben San Del will take the stage on Saturday at at Dangerous Man Brewing Co. along with special guests Boukensha Bokansha (Alex Cleberg) and Jake Skillings for an hour of storytelling the Rockstar way.
Where: Dangerous Man Brewing Co. (1300 2nd St NE)
When: 4 p.m. Saturday
How much: Free
At St. John's Evangelical Lutheran Church, which was built in 1910, you'll be able to check out stained glass windows that are over 100-years old. This weekend, there will also be a range of contemporary artwork by local and visiting artists. Among the talents featured will be the late Daniel Kaniess, whose watercolors and portfolios will be shown. Also included in the exhibition is printmaker Julie Schwartz, filmmaker Kab Kaniess, and Jason Jaspersen, who will be exhibiting an array of expressive representational pieces using traditional and emerging styles. Special performances by the Lutheran Ceili Orchestra take place 7 p.m. on Saturday and 10 a.m. on Sunday as part of the worship service.
Where: St. John's Evangelical Lutheran Church (610 Broadway St. NE)
When: The opening reception takes place on Friday, May 16 from 5 to 10 p.m., with the exhibit on view throughout the weekend.
How much: Free
Over at the Gallery @ Fox Tax, Nathaniel Smith has assembled a group of artists taking on the idea of crowds, an appropriately-themed show for the largest art crawl in the country. Among the artists are Nick Howard, whose ink and gouache paintings present a repeating cast of characters; Noah Harmon, who combines his characteristic odd-ball figures into groups for his Congolomo series; and Erik Baden, whose pencil-and-ink drawings utilize mark making to look like birds, clouds, or crowds. Artist Andy Ducett, artist/designer Ric Stultz, and writer Michael Joseph Winslow have collaborated together in a project around the theme of massed objects.
Where: The Gallery @ Fox Tax (503 1st Ave. NE)
When: The opening reception will take place on Friday from 5 to 9 p.m. The space will be open the duration of the Art-A-Whirl (the exhibition runs through June 20)
How much: Free
IF YOU GO:
Various locations in northeast Minneapolis
5 p.m. to 10 p.m. Friday; noon to 8 p.m. Saturday; noon to 5 p.m. Sunday
For more info, visit nemaa.org/art-a-whirl