Crawling for Art

A little known art festival runs twice a year in the Lowertown district of downtown Saint Paul, Minnesota. The Saint Paul Art Crawl has been held every April and October in one location or another for the last 30 years. Today the Lowertown art community opens up its studio spaces to display paintings, photography, sketch drawings, media art and the like. More than just an art show, the concept of Art Crawl is to educate the masses on new ideas in the world of art.

Perhaps the name “Art Crawl” describes the state you are in after eight hours of moving from studio to studio. Most of the artists’ studios are in converted warehouses with few elevators. Climbing six to eight flights of stairs per building is a great workout, and you typically have enough time between each floor to give your knees a rest while you survey the various art mediums.

If you are in Lowertown during Art Crawl, here is one full day of studio hopping that I recommend:

  • JAX Building
  • Northern Warehouse
  • Tilsner Artist Cooperative
  • Cosmopolitan Apartments
  • Lowertown Lofts Co-op
  • Rossmor Lofts

If you need to re-fuel, The Black Dog is the local coffeehouse where the artists hang out. It’s a little bit Seattle grunge, a little bit Greenwich Village, with rotating art exhibits on the walls and live music playing in the corner during the Crawl. The food is local and organic when it can be, and offers selections for meat eaters and vegans. Beer and wine are also available along with juices, smoothies, coffee and tea.

To get an idea of the types of art you can find while Crawling, visit the past Art Crawl competition winners gallery.

What other neighborhood art festivals have you found in your travels? What made them unique? I’m always looking for a new art destination, so let me know!