Art-a-Whirl

Art-a-Whirl is an annual studio tour event that takes place in Northeast Minneapolis. The event is in its 18th year, and it’s the largest open studio tour in the country.

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Not knowing much about the event besides that you could look at art, I decided to check it out with a friend. There was a huge variety of art and exhibits! There were the things you might expect like pottery:

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wood carvings:

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photos:

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and paintings:

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But there were also a lot of nontraditional forms of art. Like these crazy stuffed monsters:

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and this monkey chair:

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and this awesome lego exhibit:

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Art was displayed in studios, galleries, restaurants, and businesses. Almost all of the art was for sale, and it would be a great place to get a gift! I bought a pair of earrings that were packaged with a nice quote:

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My favorite piece of art was an interactive exhibit about people who did crimes they got away with.

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The exhibit was a display of the remnants from a literary party held in the space a few weeks prior. At the event, partygoers listened to recorded stories of people talking about crimes they committed and got away with. Later, they shared and recorded their own crimes. At the exhibit, I could listen to the original stories, the stories of the partygoes, and see pictures scattered around the floor from the event. There was a notebook where viewers of the exhibit could write their own confessions.

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The stories were really interesting – ranging across everything from stealing money to lying to a teacher to attempted prostitution. It was fascinating and forced the viewer to consider the fact that we are all – in some way – criminals. If so, what is the real distinction between us and what we consider more traditional criminals?

While exploring Art-a-Whirl, a caffeinated pick-me-up sounded good, so we decided to check out Diamonds Coffee Shoppe.

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Although likely due in part to the art festival, the line out the door indicated this is a popular spot in the Northeast neighborhood.

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They had a surprisingly extensive menu of soups, salads, sandwiches, and appetizers. As well as a nice looking array of baked goods:

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They had traditional coffee drinks as well as smoothies (which, I noticed, were made with real fruit!) and loose leaf tea.

I decided to try something different and got a blended iced latte:

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Oh my goodness. It was SO GOOD. My friend got a blended iced mocha and said it was the best thing he’d ever tasted (disclaimer: he is a bit prone to hyperbole).

If this were in my neighborhood, I would definitely go there at least quasi-regularly. Alas, it is not – but I would recommend it to anyone near Northeast, and I will enjoy it vicariously through you!

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