Three’s a Crowd: Minneapolis Arts Weekend Is Art Lover’s Fantasy

Three art festivals, with thousands of vendors and artists showing off their world-class work—all of them taking place within a few miles of each other over the course of three days. And did we mention the free bus rides to reach them all?

On the weekend of August 1, three Minneapolis neighborhoods will put on their annual showcasing of some of the best art, music, and food from around the world: the ninth annual Loring Park Art Festival, the 45th annual Uptown Art Fair, and the 17th annual Powderhorn Art Fair.

Loring Park Art Festival

“The art is great, and we also have some exciting entertainment,” according to Pat Parnow, Director of the Loring Park Art Festival. “We have roving world music, an Aztec dance group, a roving hoop dancer, a roving accordionist, a singing group of Target employees, an Ecuadorian pan flute group, and a group doing Irish Ceili dancing—with some instruction for the public.”

The Loring Park Art Festival features around 140 artists who specialize in everything from painting to photography to printmaking to jewelry to sculpture. Within each of those categories, a variety of styles, ranging from traditional to abstract, adds character to each piece.

“We try to offer this variety, as well as a variety of price ranges, so that there is something for everyone,” Parnow explains. “It’s a gorgeous park, and the flowers in the garden will be at their peak. There’s a beautiful pond with wildlife, and mixed with the art and music, it’s an idyllic setting. We have a children’s area, with the Minneapolis Institute of Arts in charge of that project. And we have lots of benches around for those who need to take their time getting about.”

Bus Connections to Other Festivals

If that festival doesn’t satisfy your art-craving appetite, try boarding the Target Art Hop, and venture over to the two other art festivals. Festival attendees can hitch a ride at any of the art fairs, or hop on at the Lake Street/Midtown station. Buses are scheduled to leave each stop approximately every 20 minutes. Apart from a free, air-conditioned ride, the transportation will give festival-goers the opportunity to see all three events in one day if they so choose. However, any dedicated art fan soon may find himself or herself needing every last second of the weekend to see everything the fairs have to offer.

Uptown Art Fair

Take the Uptown Art Fair for example, where more than 360 artists are expected to dazzle and delight spectators, while music and dancing takes place at the Performance Stage, and drinks are served in the Wine Garden. It takes place at Lake Street and Hennepin Avenue.

Maude Lovelle, Executive Director of the Uptown Association, producer of the event, states, “It doesn’t matter if this is your first time, or if you have attended the art fair for the last 20 years. The fair offers new and exciting artists each year. There are always new food to sample, and new performers to view and experience. It’s the best people-watching in the city.”

The Uptown Art Fair has the longest history of the three festivals, its roots going back to 1963. It then was organized as a small neighborhood fund-raiser, but in only its second year, more than 75,000 people attended. That number has continued to climb steadily, with the festival now attracting more than 350,000 attendees to the Uptown area’s doorstep every year, making it second only to the Minnesota State Fair in attendance.

Lovelle points out, “As one of the top 10 fine art festivals in the United States, you can actually spend quality time with the artists themselves, and learn how art works in their own life. The Uptown Art Fair is unique because of its longevity, its tradition, its energy, its celebration of community, and its honoring of the arts. After 45 years, we think we put on a good show—and invite everyone to visit us in Uptown.”

Powderhorn Art Fair

Yes, Picassos and Picasso lovers, there’s more. If two art fairs are still not enough, three may just be the charm. Jump on the waiting bus, and shortly thereafter, you will arrive in beautiful park number two: Powderhorn Park.

Powderhorn Art Fair, put on by the Powderhorn Park Neighborhood Association and the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board, uses proceeds from the event to help fund park programs, including a pottery kiln, a teen center, and a photography lab and sound recording studio. This year, approximately 180 exhibitors are scheduled to appear at the event.

Dixie Treichel, Powderhorn Art Fair Director, remarks, “Powderhorn Art Fair is much more than just an art fair. People should attend Powderhorn Art Fair to experience the great diversity of the Powderhorn neighborhood that includes a variety of ethnic backgrounds, sexual orientations, and ages. We are noncommercial, and all the art is unique and one-of-a-kind.”

In addition to not allowing mass-production art or resale items, the fair is going “green” this year. Along with providing special recycling containers at the event, it will debut “Green Alley,” an area filled with performances and information tables dedicated to environmental awareness.

Loring Park Art Festival

Sat., Aug. 2, 10 AM-6 PM
Sun., Aug. 3, 10 AM-5 PM

Powderhorn Art Fair
Sat., Aug. 2, 10 AM-6 PM
Sun. Aug. 3, 10 AM-5 PM

Uptown Art Fair
Fri., Aug. 1, Noon-8:30 PM
Sat., Aug. 2, 10 AM-8:30 PM
Sun., Aug. 3, 10 AM-6 PM

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