In the 1970s, Lowertown St. Paul was turning into a ghost town. Empty warehouses abandoned by businesses going under or fleeing downtown Saint Paul fell into disrepair. The affordable rent of Lowertown warehouses attracted artists and soon the area had become the de facto center of the St. Paul arts scene.
In 1977, the loose drift of artists to Lowertown took on a more defined structure with the formation of the St. Paul Art Collective. That year the organization held its first exhibition at Union Depot, and in the years leading up to 1991 held many more informal art events in the St. Paul area.
In 1991 the SPAC coordinated a multi-venue, weekend long, open studio event known today as the Saint Paul Art Crawl. The inaugural event included five buildings in Lowertown—The Jax, 262 Studios, Lowertown Lofts Artist Cooperative, The Tilsner Artist Cooperative, and the Northern Warehouse Artist Cooperative—all of which still house artist studios and participate in the semi-annual Art Crawl.
The Fall St. Paul Art Crawl kicks off this Friday, October 10, 2014 from 6–10pm, continuing Saturday from 12–8pm, and closing out Sunday from 12–5pm. The event has expanded from the original five buildings to over 20 buildings across St. Paul. According to the St. Paul Art Crawl website, the number of participating artists is “now exceeding 300 and the number of visitors averaging around 20,000 for each semi-annual, three-day event.”
View Saint Paul Art Crawl Locations in a larger map
Among the hundreds of artists participating in the Art Crawl this weekend is The Growler Magazine‘s cover artist David Witt and Lake Monster Brewing’s label artist Jeff Nelson, both of whom are nominated a 2014 Kind-of-a-Big-Deal Awards for Best Beer Artist.
The weekend includes a number of special arts events for the whole family, as well as musical performances and special offerings at local bars and restaurants. Black Dog Coffee and Wine Bar is hosting live music featuring Todd Harper and the Restless Icons, as well as BZ3 Organ Trio on October 10th, Zacc Harris Group on October 11, and Fuzzy Math on October 12. Señor Wong is also hosting live music on October 10 starting at 8pm featuring The CrosSinghs, Yeti Steady with Daniel Zamzow, Katy Vernon Music, Nick Costa, and LOTT.
This will be first Art Crawl since the Green Line light rail line opened and >Metro Transit is again providing free rides on both buses and the light rail both Saturday and Sunday of the weekend. Passes will be available from at the St. Paul Art Crawl’s website www.stpaulartcrawl.org.