If your head is spinning at the very thought of Art-A-Whirl, do not worry. You are not alone.
Make a weekend out of discovering oddities, classics and your next favorite painting at the 24th edition of the nation’s largest annual studio tour, with nearly 800 artists in 60 studios, galleries, homes, storefronts and other strange spaces across northeast Minneapolis Friday through Sunday.
Free trolleys will shuttle visitors among key locations, including the very important Food Building. Download free transit passes from nemaa.org to catch a ride there. Then brace yourself.
To get you started, here’s a sampling of events that are worth navigating the madness and music.
You're A Gem Museum
Made-for-Instagram museums like the Museum of Ice Cream in New York City and the Museum of Selfies in Los Angeles obviously shouldn’t be confined to the coasts. Twin Cities jewelry designer Larissa Loden brings the idea to the Twin Cities, translating the gems she works with into an entire museum inspired by gemstone properties in order to “make people become a part of the art,” she said. Inside the “museum,” encounter a 30-foot citrine-inspired ball pit, a light installation that turns humans into prisms, an interactive mural, and a geode-inspired room where visitors merge with parts of a gemstone. “Our hope is that we have created a space where taking and posting pictures feels like the natural thing to do because the environment is something you’d want to share with friends and family,” said Loden. For a $20 admission ticket, visitors get one hour inside the museum. Purchase at youreagemmsp.com. (Northrup King Building, Suite 332, 1500 NE. Jackson St., 5-10 p.m. Fri., noon-8 Sat., noon-5 Sun.)
Maidens Magazine party
Founded by Nicole Feest, Maidens Magazine is an online publication that features the photographic work of the full spectrum of female/femme/genderqueer-identifying womxn. For their first year at Art-A-Whirl, they’re sharing space with Twin Spirits Distillery. Expect to catch a lot of body-centric photos, along with one florist and one painter. Cocktails, food, live music and floral arrangements made specifically for selfies will be happening Saturday from 1-8 p.m. only. Peep the magazine’s Instagram at instagram.com/maidensmagazine. (Twin Spirits Distillery, 2931 Central Av. NE.)
Local emerging artists Ben Holmberg, Jess Zottola, Jonathon Rosemond and Sarah Nicole present a range of artwork, from experiments in paintings to questions about digital space. The artists have a lot of space to play with — nearly 2,000 square feet — and the space hasn’t seen art on its walls in almost two years. An 8-by-8-foot wall will become the home of a live painting by Zottola that will unfurl throughout the duration of the show. Abstract paintings and installations take over the remainder of the large space. (Repurpose Gallery, 700 Central Av. NE., noon-4 p.m. Fri., 1-6 Sat.)
‘Weirdly Positive/ Positively Weird’
In this group exhibition, seven artists buck the concept that cynicism is at all cool, superior, or even smart. No, ironic hipster, your negativity actually sucks. (Go to therapy!) These artworks look for hope in the universe, something bright and unabashedly positive. Jose Dominguez’s textual-and-image-heavy drawings and paintings playfully lead viewers into a better state of mind. Lindsey Wright’s super colorful retro-inspired prints, like one with rainbows sprouting out of purple hands, add some brightness to a gloomy day. From 5-10 p.m. Friday, visitors can swing by the space wearing roller skates and take a spin around. Wheeeee! (CO Exhibitions, 1101 Stinson Blvd. NE. No. 2. Also open noon-8 Sat., noon-5 Sunday.)
When artist Leslie Barlow came to Tricia Heuring, co-founder of Public Functionary, to talk about the importance of a space and program where emerging artists could receive positive mentorship, the two promptly got to work on Studio #400. The two-year residency program prioritizes artists of color or those with indigenous backgrounds. The inaugural cohort of nine new studio residents, selected earlier this year, will have their own studio space, with open walls to encourage collaboration and conversations, which also includes storage and a critique/exhibition space. Artists meet with Barlow once a month. All of the participants will be present so visitors can see what this program is all about. (Northrup King Building, 1500 NE. Jackson St. 5-10 p.m. Fri., noon-8 Sat., noon-5 Sun.)