Spring has sprung (finally), and Northeast Minneapolis is springing into a whirlwind of a weekend—it’s the 23rd annual Art-A-Whirl. From May 18–20, thousands of people will descend on the area to browse art, tour studios and galleries, and watch artists’ creative techniques. But people need to eat, drink, and take a load-off, too, so many area restaurants, bars, and breweries not only acknowledge this artsy time of year, they embrace it to the full celebratory degree.
Here’s what you need to know about The Art, The Music, and The Parties of Art-A-Whirl.
From pottery to printmaking, watercolors to woodworkings, artwork from more than 650 artists at 50-plus locations will be on display throughout Northeast. From the large studio buildings to individual artists’ studios and breweries in between, there’ll be no shortage of art on display. Artists’ open studio tours may also include demos, mini workshops, and the chance to ask questions and experience art first-hand with the creators.
As the largest open-studio tour in the country, we can’t list every studio, but here are some of the major ones if you have limited time or want some stellar starting points:
Casket Arts Building, 681 17th Avenue Northeast, Minneapolis
California Building, 2205 California Street Northeast, Minneapolis
Historic Thorp Building, 1620 Central Avenue Northeast, Minneapolis
Northrup King Building, 1500 Jackson Street Northeast, Minneapolis
Solar Arts Building, 711 15th Avenue Northeast, Minneapolis
With artful venues abound, you’re in for a jam-packed weekend. Use the Northeast Minneapolis Arts Association (NEMAA) downloadable app map to help you plan a route, navigate the weekend-long event, find artists, plan your trip, and more.
Move and groove, shake and shimmy, and listen up—there’s a ton of live music at this year’s Art-A-Whirl. And it doesn’t get more comprehensive than the music schedule our friends over at 89.3 The Current put together. Check out the music schedule to see which bands are playing, when, and where throughout the entire weekend.
Some highlights for include Mark Mallman and Charlie Parr at the 331 Club and The Sheridan Room. Bauhaus’ beer/art/music extravaganza, Liquid Zoo, will have the likes of Viva Knievel, Nooky Jones, Lady Lark, and Har Mar Superstar. And Grumpy’s Northeast is gearing up for a smashing Saturday, as The Cactus Blossoms and Superchunk will be on-site.
Beyond the amazing art on display, Art-A-Whirl has grown into a full-on neighborhood block party, with many breweries, bars, and restaurants hosting events. Here are some of the places where you can grab a drink (or two, maybe three), get a bite to eat, take in some killer live music, or just sit back and enjoy the people watching.
Strange Girls Art-A-Whirl Market • Twin Spirits Distillery • Fri: 12pm–8pm • Free
Part creative collective, part arts organization, A Conspiracy of Strange Girls is a women-trans-femme+ group open to cis women, trans women, femmes, non-binary, and genderqueer folks. Head out to female-owned Twin Spirits Distillery for this one-day-only craft market, featuring artwork from 11 members of A Conspiracy of Strange Girls. Ten percent of art and distillery sales will be donated to SWOP Minneapolis.
612Brew at Art-A-Whirl • 612Brew • Fri: 2:30pm–12am; Sat: 12pm–12am; Sun: 12pm–8pm • Free
612Brew is amped and ready for its sixth annual Art-A-Whirl party with a live music lineup headlined by The Big Wu (Saturday). A total of 16 bands will be showcased during the weekend event at the brewery’s outdoor amphitheater. Expect lots of art, too, with a creative showcase from NEMAA members, as well as a pop-up tattoo shop. As for the beer, enjoy more than 10 of 612’s most popular taps and two new year-round beers.
The Liquid Zoo • Bauhaus Brew Labs • Fri: 3pm–11pm; Sat: 12pm–11pm; Sun: 12pm–6pm • Free
The Liquid Zoo is back, Hauslers! For three days, Bauhaus Brew Labs will host a family-friendly celebration where top-notch musicians, artists, and food and beverage purveyors collide. Friday kicks it off with a dance party, while Saturday is an all-day concert featuring the likes of Nooky Jones and Har Mar Superstar. Sunday holds a Made By Hands Arts & Crafts Extra-Vaganza, featuring paintings, jewelry, woodworkings, sweets, knits, as well as an artist-designed mini golf hole from Can Can Wonderland.
Art-A-Whirl at Broken Clock • Broken Clock Brewing Cooperative • Fri: 4pm–10pm, Sat: 12pm–10pm, Sun: 12pm–6pm • Free
Join Broken Clock all weekend to view and purchase art from local and greater Minnesota artists. Take advantage of the stellar lineup of live music and food trucks on site, too. And if you’re a member of the cooperative brewery, there’s a special members-only event on Thursday from 6pm–8pm, where Broken Clock will be releasing two new summer shandies.
Whirlygig • Indeed Brewing • Fri: 5pm–11pm, Sat: 12pm–11pm, Sun: 12pm–8pm • Entry is $1 if you’re looking to buy a beer, and free for those not drinking.
Get down and get whirly during Indeed’s three-day extravaganza of art, beer, eats, and music. You’ll find some Indeed beers on tap, including LSD, Mexican Honey, Strawberry Fields, and selections from Wooden Soul. There will also be selections from Blue Door Pub, Natedogs, Dogwood Coffee Company, and Milkjam Creamery, and killer local music.
Artefacts: Art, Bikes, Chalk • Fri: 5pm–9pm, Sat: 12pm–5pm, Sun: 12pm–5pm • Free
Sociable Cider Werks will be a haven of art to celebrate this year’s Art-A-Whirl. There will be live chalk art murals created on the spot, a Minnesota Mobile Market (featuring products from Sota Clothing, Paddle North, and many other local vendors) on Saturday, family-friendly activities, and even a special performance from the St. Paul Ballet, showcasing the bike spectacle of “Bella Luna. And of course, a bounty of cider and beer will be on hand.
Chowgirls Lounge // Art-A-Whirl 2018 • Solar Arts Building • Fri: 5pm-10pm, Sat: 12pm-8pm, Sun: 12pm-5pm
The third floor of the Solar Arts Building will be hoppin’ with curated goods—art, jewelry, clothing, homeware—plus a full cocktail bar, a lounge area, and TV dinners. Yes, you read that right. Chowgirls will have hearty daily specials—local-and-organic twists on the retro TV dinner.
Casket Arts at Art-A-Whirl • Casket Arts • Fri: 5pm–10pm, Sat: 12pm–8pm, Sun: 12pm–5pm • Free
As we mentioned above, Casket Arts will be a hubbub of all things artsy. Besides the 100+ artists opening their studio doors to show off their work, there will also be a Friday night parade, an iron pour, food trucks, live folk and Americana music on the fourth floor, beer from 612Brew, and a basement speakeasy bar thanks to Vikre.
Art-A-Whirl at 331 Club and The Sheridan Room • 331 Club and The Sheridan Room • Fri outdoors: 5pm–10pm, Fri inside: 10pm–2am, Sat outdoors: 12pm–10pm, Sat inside: 10pm–2am, Sun outdoors: 1pm–9pm • Free
If you’re prepped for a party, head over to the 331 Club and The Sheridan Room for three days of indoor and outdoor performances as Rad Owl, Charlie Parr, Mark Mallman, All Tomorrow’s Petty, and many others take the stage(s).
Art-A-Whirl Weekend at Studio Six • Studio Six • Fri: 5pm–10pm, Sat: 12pm–8pm; Sun: 12pm–5pm • Free
For the first time, the community television network and film collective, Studio Six, will be opening their doors to the public for attendees to take in numerous forms of creative output and artistic mediums. Throughout the weekend, there will be extra-special events, including a “Profession Confession” comedy party and a retrospective fashion show and performance art piece.
Art-A-Whirl at Tattersall • Tattersall Distilling • Sat: 12pm–11pm • Free
Drink cocktails and support local art at Tattersall, for more than 20 artists will be displaying their artworks at the distillery. Plus, hang out for an evening of music, live T-shirt screen printings, and more.
The 23rd Anniversary Art-A-Whirl festivities start at noon, so get ready for a local and national music lineup, including Babes In Toyland drummer Lori Barbero as the host, roots duo The Cactus Blossoms, and indie rock headliner Superchunk. Plus, this party will be packed with food and spirits abound.
Hai Hai Parking Lot Party at Art-A-Whirl • Hai Hai • Sat: 1pm–9pm • Free
Stop by and say “Hai” to Grumpy’s next door neighbors, Hai Hai, for they’re hosting a parking lot event. Local artist Jennifer Davis will be painting a jungle-themed patio mural (think sloths, lemurs, and tropical flora) for the Northeast establishment from 1pm–5pm. Plus, the Hola Arepa food truck will be on site, as well as a Hai Hai grill tent, Fulton beers, and the vibrant turquoise “Cocktail Truck.”
Art-A-Whirl with The Anchor Fish & Chips • The Anchor Fish & Chips • Hours of operation, music starts at 3pm on Sat and Sun • $1 admission
The Anchor Fish & Chips is ready to set sail for their Art-A-Whirl party. Meander into the beer tent starting at noon, peruse through the artwork of Kim Whittemore, and check out the rad lineup of music, including headliners Monica LaPlante on Saturday and Romantica on Sunday.
Art-thou-Luau • Psycho Suzi’s Motor Lounge • Sat: 1:30pm–2am • Free, $3 for puppy pageant registration
Aloha, Art-A-Whirl! Things will be getting crazy at Psycho Suzi’s Art-thou-Luau, so get ready for a full day’s worth of live music, a build-your-own bloody mary bar, the sixth annual puppy pageant, tiki drinks and tons of food, photo ops with cuddly puppies, and an after party with Indeed Brewing in the Shangri-La Lounge.