Northeast Minneapolis has become the city’s de facto visual arts district; artists have been moving to Northeast in large numbers since the 1980s, and currently Northeast houses more than 400 independent artists. “Northeast is definitely supportive of the art scene,” says Northeast artist Tom Wolfe. “It is thriving here. In the 1980s it was the downtown warehouse area that was known for its art scene. Now it is Northeast.”
At the Northrup King Building’s 11th annual Art Attack, the 100+ local artists who maintain studios in the building were out in full force as the rumbling of passing trains added to the gritty Northeast ambience. The building’s halls were filled with shoppers and art enthusiasts. People were definitely buying, but sales were down from previous years. “People this weekend seemed very satisfied with the number of people who attended and, more importantly, their interest in art,” said building manager Debbie Woodward. “Some people’s sales were up and others were down somewhat However, we [should] never gauge the success of the event [based] on sales. This building is enormous, and quite an eyeful for the average person.”
“Art Attack had a strong attendance,” says sculptor Ernest Miller—but, he says, the economic troubles on Wall Street seem to be trickling down to local artists. “We as creative individuals will have to just hold out. It is a part of the natural shakedown when funds are slowing. Those who can creatively adapt will survive.”
Miller also noted the support the Northeast community gives to its artists. “The Northeast families and businesses are supportive of what is happening with the arts scene. They stop in the studio during events and converse about how the community has grown.”
Another prominent Northeast building filled with artists’ studios is the California Building. “I believe there is a perception that when it comes to buying or selling art, in a bad economy people have less disposable income for ‘extras’ like buying original art,” says Wolfe, who is based in the California Building. “The reality may be different.” Wolfe notes that he has never been able to rely on his art as a means of livelihood. “I have an outside job that supports my ‘art habit.’ I believe many of the artists in the California Building are in that situation. We have studios and make art because we see something that we feel needs to be created, because we like it and are moved by it. Sharing or selling is almost a byproduct of creating.”
|Casket Arts Building|
Cache at the Casket, November 22 and 23
Opening reception November 22, 6-9 p.m.
This new open-studio art sale has ceramics, jewelry, glass, stationary, painting, and more. Cache features over 35 local artists, delicious food from Chowgirls Killer Catering, and live jazz.
Frank Stone Gallery
Two 12 Pottery
TLee Fine Designer Jewelry
Melissa Slachetka is a freelance writer and photographer who lives in Minneapolis and contributes regularly to the Daily Planet.