Spring and summer arts festivals in the Twin Cities: What not to miss

Northern Spark 2012. Photo by Jay Gabler.

When my mother told me that I didn’t understand a true Minnesota winter because it had been many years before my birth that a winter had been this long, it made me feel like I was on an episode of Game of Thrones—because seriously, who talks like that?

While the night can really be dark and full of terrors, this winter has been brutal in a way that almost seems malicious on the part of Mother Nature. I know that once the blistering heat of summer rolls in I will be complaining along with everyone else, but for now I just desperately want winter to end. The art scene around here kind of dies during the winter months; we all try to keep it alive, but it’s so cold that the idea of leaving the house to do anything feels like a quest of perils and the risk doesn’t always live up to the reward.

Once the warmth of the glimmering spring sun melts the ice and the flowers bloom from the snowy crust, though, life returns to our beautiful landscape—and we get to take full advantage of it.

This spring is going to be exciting. I have no expectations in terms of whether or not anything will be special; I just want to go to everything and tell you about it. I want to give you a list of the spring and summer events that I plan to write about this upcoming season; some of them I go to every year, some of them I have never been to, and others I may not have a chance to go to this year, but I’m excited for all of them and I definitely want to try.

Minneapolis Institute of Arts’ Art in Bloom (April 25-28): I have never gone but I want to more and more every day. I love flowers, art, and the MIA, so this event is about 82% likely not to disappointment me.

Saint Paul Art Crawl (April 26-28): I went in 2011 with a friend. I bought a ring made out of a button and we got tacos afterwards.

Art-A-Whirl (May 17-19): I showed at Art-A-Whirl last year, and then a week later my entire body broke out into hives. So now I have this weird negative associated memory with this event, but I’m a firm believer in second chances.

Northern Spark (June 8): I’ve never been, but it seems magical and I like that it starts at 8:58pm.

Twin Cities Jazz Festival (June 27-29): I love the idea of the soundtrack to a downtown St. Paul summer being jazz.

Twin Cities Pride (June 28-30): Every year there is an art exhibition during Pride that is held in one of the Art Institute's galleries Downtown. I can’t find any info on the exhibit for 2013, but I hope they do it this year.

Minnesota Fringe Festival (August 1-11): I don’t know a lot about performance art; all the more reason to go and learn something new.

Powderhorn/Uptown/Loring Art Fair (August 3-4): I go every year and I only ever find two artists that I really like. But more than anything else I go for the fair food…and the chance to pet hundreds of dogs.

Sideshow Soo (Date to be Announced Soon): This event is the most mysterious to me. It is a carnival, a block party, and an art exhibit…I think. I definitely want to see what it’s all about.

Red Hot Art Fair (Date Currently Unknown): I had work in this too and the “Red” and “Hot” were an understatement. Fair weather is always ridiculous. If you know the date for this event, please let me know.

I’m going to try to get to as many of these as possible, but I’m not making any promises because I’m too lazy to do that. Spring is supposed to be here soon and even though I don’t want to jinx it my expectations are high. I have many warm weather fantasies of picnicking at the Minneapolis Sculpture Garden with friends and spending all day at the MIA. I don’t know how long we’ll be on Mother Nature’s rollercoaster in the coming months, but I don’t want to take spring and summer for granted this year. Before we know it we’ll be trapped in another arctic nightmare, so let’s enjoy it while we can.


Coverage of issues and events affecting Central Corridor communities is funded in part by a grant from the Central Corridor Funders Collaborative.

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    aminaharper's picture
    Amina Harper