3-Art-Fair Weekend Creates Cornucopia

Uptown Art Fair

Uptown Art Fair Executive Director Maude Lovelle describes the event’s 47th year this way: “This is a great year for the Uptown Art Fair, because Uptown is in the middle of a major revitalization. Desirable new businesses such as Apple are opening doors, great restaurants abound, Calhoun Square is getting a makeover, on and on. The theme of ‘Urban Experiences’ fits right in, because of all the great energy and people who are passionate about the urban life, the Uptown Urban Life in particular.”

Minneapolis Skyline. Painting by Anastasia Makarenko

Xavier Nuez, the fair’s 2010 Commemorative Print Artist, creates stunning images that explore the gritty side of the “Urban Experience.” This year marks his third Uptown showing.

Nuez says, “I’ve always been fascinated with alleys and ruins, and generally with what society shuns. These are places where aesthetics are not considered, and where few give a second look, and yet, they are so full of energy and drama and life. I’ve been working on the alley series for almost 20 years, and it’s always fun to go out and explore.

“I love the many contrasts of the Alley series. First, they are places considered ugly, and so, I try to make them beautiful. They are typically drab and colorless, so I bring a rainbow of colors. I bring lights and gels with me. They are often dangerous places, so I make them look inviting. They are largely viewed as depressing, dead places, so I make them positive, and full of energy and life. And then, there’s the actual contrast in lighting, helped largely by shooting at night, and having lots of shadows.”

Lovelle emphasizes that Nuez’s work “really captures the spirit of ‘Urban Experiences.’ He finds beauty in urban landscapes where others might see something harsher. His work is in sync with the widespread passion for vital, vibrant, urban areas such as Uptown.”

Local urban artist Mike Welton, who will exhibit for the 12th year, comments, “In my opinion, the Uptown Art Fair is one of the best-attended fairs in the country, and has a real mix of buyers. We get some high-end to middle-range buyers, but all kinds of art lovers come, and those who see visual art as fun and enjoyable, and want to discover what their personal taste and style in fine art is.”

Other crowd-pleasing events over the weekend include Barefoot Wine & Bubbly Garden’s inauguration of its new outdoor location at the Old Chicago parking lot, with daily live arts events on the Ultimate Events Performance Stage. One’s inner artiste can participate, working in clay at the Family Imagination Station in the Walker Library Courtyard. More can be found on the website.

The fair draws on average 375,000 people annually, second only to the Minnesota State Fair in statewide event attendance. Feel lost in such a crowd? The Uptown Information Booth, hosted by the Uptown Association, is at the corner of Lagoon and Hennepin.

Uptown Art Fair
Fri., Aug. 6, Noon-8 PM
Sat., Aug. 7, 10 AM-8 PM
Sun., Aug. 8, 10 AM-6 PM
Hennepin Ave. & Lake St., Mpls.

Loring Park Art Fair

If you’re availing yourself of the Metro Transit Art Hop buses (see below), your next stop might be the Loring Park Art Festival, now in its 11th year.

Local artists include Bob Carls of Ripple River Gallery, whose lathe-turned and carved-wood vessels evoke, he notes, “his background in improvisational music, photography sculpture, and film.”

Colleen Tabeika, who employs innovative techniques in the crafting of her textiles and rugs, explains, “A trademark of my work is repeating and manipulating various groups of analogous colors within a piece.”

WaterfieldYoung is the creative collaboration between Nancy Waterfield and Wendy Young, who color and manipulate papers made from pure cotton pulp.

The varieties and handling of medias throughout the festival will entrance the viewer.

Coordinator Pat Parnow points out that the Loring Park Art Festival is a partnership of working artists, coordinated by Artists for Artists, whose goal is to provide the opportunity to exhibit and sell artwork in an atmosphere designed with the artist and patron in mind. The event, which this year has 140 artists participating, promotes involvement with the Loring Park neighborhood. Visitors are both urban and suburban.

Parnow shares, “Someone one described our festival as ‘an urban, sophisticated oasis of art and culture.’”

Man does not live by art alone, however. Like all the weekend art events, the Loring Park Art Festival offers a wide variety of taste-tempting foods: wood-fired pizza, Magic Bus Café, and Chef Shack, among them.

Loring Park Art Festival
Fri.-Sat. Aug. 6-7, 10 AM-6 PM
Sun., Aug. 8, 10 AM-5 PM
Loring Park, Mpls.

Powderhorn Art Fair

The third entrant in the art trifecta is the Powderhorn Art Fair, whose theme this year is “Minneapolis Skyline,” also the name of the poster/painting by 2009 Powderhorn Art Fair Best of Show Artist Anastasia Makarenko. Born in the Ukraine, she came to the United States when she was 14.

Makarenko muses, “To me, making art is both challenging and entertaining. I enjoy passing the great pleasure I feel from creating paintings to those who acquire them. My art exists to fulfill souls, and relieve stress. While the actual process of painting is driven by my experiences and imagination, I let the audience find their own life force in my work—be it happy, nostalgic, mysterious, or purely decorative.”

Now in its 19th year, the Powderhorn Art Fair last year bestowed two “Longevity Invitationals”: one to jeweler Mimi Alexander, who has shown in the festival every year since its beginning; and the other to Charlotte Fung Miller, a Wisconsin painter exhibiting this year for the 17th time.

Powderhorn Art Fair Coordinator Dixie Treichel remarks, “The real beauty of the Powderhorn Art Fair is that the event’s impact is felt throughout the year, and not just on event days. Proceeds from the art fair help fund park programs such as theater arts, computer lab, teen center, music recording studio, the pottery studio, and team sports—giving neighborhood residents of all ages a safe environment in which to play, learn, and grow. The Powderhorn Art Fair celebrates art and community. It is a queer-friendly and multicultural event that welcomes diversity.”

Powderhorn Art Fair
Sat., Aug. 7, 10 AM-6 PM
Sun., Aug. 8, 10 AM-5 PM
Powderhorn Park, Mpls.

Free Transportation
Metro Transit is offering free rides through its “Three Fairs, No Fares” Art Hop. Attendees can ride free on Saturday and Sunday among the Uptown Art Fair, Loring Park Art Festival, Powderhorn Art Fair, and Lake Street/Midtown light rail station. Buses leave each stop approximately every 20 minutes. For more information, visit www.metrotransit.org/arthop.

Mike Welton
Experiencing Urban Insights

Mike Welton, well-known for his striking images of local architecture, is both exhibitor and juror this year at the Uptown Art Fair. He recently spoke with Lavender about his art and his relation to the fair’s “Urban Experiences” theme.

Welton says, “My new work [Between Centuries, pictured here] comes directly from my urban experience. How so? Well, for starters, it’s the lines, colors, and compositions of large dense urban areas that I’ve turned into almost abstract designs, framed into the edges of a canvas taken directly from the urban environment. I use actual colors to heighten them, or create my own to inspire dynamic areas of line and edge-work that achieve balance. People react to the values of architecture and color surrounding them in an urban environment, thus creating energy as well.”

Welton emphasizes the necessity of the Uptown, Loring, and Powderhorn events: “Art fairs are the sole way some artists make a living. An artist doing some 14 to 15 shows a year can make a living, depending on expenses and the success of each show. Personally, I have done fairs from Seattle, Washington, to Montauk, New York. Shows are important in establishing your work with collectors, regionally and nationally, as well as being discovered by galleries. Art fairs also bring visual art to persons who may never engage in the visual arts any other time of the year.

Of his second role, Welton remarks, “I was personally honored to be picked as a juror,” because “jurors are recommended by persons in the arts community. The jurors spend two days going through slides of nearly 2,000 applications, in three rounds. There are 100 to 200 alternate artists placed on a waiting list, so in case an artist cannot attend, there are plenty of alternates to take their place.”

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