Organizers of the Scott County Art Crawl say the tour provides a portrait of area artists waiting to be discovered. Artists report that the event helps them attract a following. And organizers hope the event is attracting a following of its own.
Now in its fourth year, the art tour displays artwork at libraries in Shakopee, Savage and Prior Lake to pique interest in the fall tour. Photography, oil paintings and jewelry will adorn library walls as part of the art crawl’s preview exhibit, which runs through Sept. 27.
The preview leads up to the crawl itself, set for 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Oct. 5 in a variety of studios and businesses sprinkled across Scott County.
Many sites are in the downtown areas of Shakopee and Prior Lake or concentrated at the McColl Pond Environmental Learning Center in Savage. But other sites are farther afield.
“Out in the rural areas you see cornfields, and a winery or two pops up along the way, and then you get back into the towns,” said Denise Baerg, chairwoman of the art crawl.
Artists have reported that sales have increased each year, and many visitors appear to be returning annually, she said.
While the art crawl does not have plans to expand to more sites, Baerg said organizers would consider adding artists in the future who meet their criteria.
“Right now we just want to celebrate and feature our fine artists here in this area, and kind of remind the world that not every fine artist is in downtown St. Paul or Minneapolis,” she said.
Jewelry created by Savage resident Kristin Oppold has been worn on shows like “The Vampire Diaries” and ABC’s “Scandal.” Still, Oppold said she has struggled to attract people to house parties featuring her products.
“I think that’s one of the biggest challenges as an artist, is to have people see you,” Oppold said. “They don’t know what I do, and it’s a big challenge.”
When artists in the area unite through the art crawl, they help attract more people who are interested in viewing a variety of works of art, Oppold said.
“It’s still a growing community, and I’m sure it will find its feet as long as there are people who want to buy art,” she said.
Photographer Todd Jacobs of Shakopee called the art crawl his one big event of the year, but he said participating in it is simple.
“This is indoors, it’s one day, it’s easy-peasy,” Jacobs said. “It works.”
The art crawl has suffered from Savage Art Studios closing down, said children’s book illustrator and Shakopee resident Franklin Haws, but many artists are working diligently to finish pieces for this year’s main event.
With the economy improving and more art selling, Haws said he anticipates a bright future for the tour.
“It seems to me there are a lot of art lovers here, and there is a lot of energy,” Haws said.
For a map and artist information, visit ScottCountyArtCrawl.org.
Seth Rowe is a Twin Cities freelance writer.