#44: Go to the First Thursday Art Crawl at the Northrup King building

This past Thursday, I drove across town to complete item #44 on the 101 list: Go to the First Thursday Art Crawl at the Northrup King building.

For years I’ve been saying ‘I should go’ to this event – but I just never made the time or effort to actually get off my rear end and get there.  But.  Now that the list is in motion (and this item is on the list…) – well, I’ll be darned, somehow I found the time to experience this!  😉

As I explained in an earlier post, we have been experiencing a beautiful Indian summer in the city – and this day was absolutely gorgeous.  Sunny, blue skies, high temps (82 degrees F)… it was a day that begged a person to appreciate beauty.  A perfect day to take in art.

So around 4:30 pm I hopped in my car and left the suburbs; after about 10 minutes I made my way onto the city streets.  A few minutes later, I stopped at a red light (one of many I would encounter during the drive), looked to my left, and saw this:

A very auspicious omen indeed.

Fifteen minutes later, I drove over a half-paved/half-brick road, and arrived at a massive warehouse.  I went to the main door, and was greeted by a very pleasant attendant who handed me a map of the building and explained how the event works: Basically, walk into any open studio space, and check out the works the artist has on display.  Go to as many or as few places as you want, stay as long (or as briefly) as you desire…just explore.  When you feel like you’ve had enough, you’re done.  Simple as that!

A seasoned Art Crawler who happened to arrive at the same time I did recommended that I start on the top floor of the warehouse, and work my way down: “Just like at the Guggenheim,” he explained.  Um… I’ve never been to the Guggenheim…. But whatever.  It sounded like good advice.  Since he was a pro, and I was a novice, I decided to follow his suggestion.

The warehouse is home to almost 200 different artists.  Some have had studios in the same space for decades, while others rotate in and out quickly (usually as interest or [more commonly] funds require).  Many different types of art were present… and rather than me blather on about this piece or that one, I thought it would be much more fun for me to show you what I saw.  So – what follows is a (lengthy) sampling of the various ‘things’ I got to experience.  Scroll down as far as you wish, and linger on whatever pieces catch your eye.  I have inserted comments in most pictures (as appropriate) – and for those of you who make it to the end, I do have a surprise there waiting for you.

All in all, I really enjoyed this experience.  It was like going to an art museum for free, but minus the stuffy pretentiousness.  (Bonus!)  I felt my creative juices deeply invigorated by the experience; I could easily spend many, many happy hours (days, weeks, years) in a space like this one.

Now, on with the pics.

This was the very first piece I saw as I started up the stairs to the 4th floor. It's a series of tiny (2.5"x2.5") photos of various things in the city. (Ruth, this one seems right up your alley.)

(Here's a close-up of a small section from the above image.)

This is a tile mosaic. I wanted to run my fingers over it. I like how the moon and its' shadow also looks like a person...

This piece was very large (around 5' wide and 2'-3' tall), and was very soothing to me.

An entire wall was covered in these framed covers - I'd say the total space that was occupied was a good 10' wide and 15' tall. It was MASSIVE. Repetition on such a large scale *always* looks grand.

The white items on the left are small gravy boats (each one is probably 6" long); the black items on the right are larger gravy boats (around 12" long). (Jonathan, I bet you could make some lovely sauces for these dishes...) 😉

These little guys just made me happy. I like how they are all milling around, just kind of smiling and chilling... (And I especially like the dude in the cape.) (I thought of my sweetie when I took this one in.)

The definition of 'art' is vast and wide. I bet adolescent boys love this.

A sculpture composed of colored-and-ornately-twisted metal.

If I ever created art, this is probably the type I would make. Not because it's my favorite, but because it's what I have the skills to produce.

I like the levity of the colors in this piece.

You may not be able to tell in this picture, but all of the images on the wall are *paintings*, not photos.

A close-up of some of the images in the above picture. The effect is pretty amazing when one gets to see the images in 'real life'.

Woven textiles, made of very thin strands of yarn. (I thought of my sister when I saw this image; our trip to NYC and the flea markets we experienced together...)

The spools of thread used to make the above textiles. (Christine, when I took this picture, I was thinking of you.) 🙂

I even got to see the loom up close. I like the contrast of the old technology with the new. (Judith, I thought of you when I saw this scene.)

Vibrant and funky.

Cool and artsy.

A few different installation pieces. Crystals, feathers, sticks...

The material of this dress is an old painting. Yup, it's canvas, not fabric... (I thought of my mom with this one. I thought of my mom at many different times, actually...)

Ceramic jewelry...

... and dishes...

... and animals. (Carla, the turtle reminded me of you.) 🙂

A funky collage of some of the more 'iconic' landmarks of the city.

Of all the artists I saw, this one was my favorite. I *love* the spirit of all of her paintings. (It's too bad the light glare bounced off the top of this photo.)

In addition to painting/drawing/sculpture artists, the warehouse is also home to a few graphic artists...

...and furniture artists.

Metal sculpture with an architectural influence.

This jewelry designer draws her inspiration from comic books; and her pieces were COOOL. I'd love to own a ring or two of hers.

The first floor of the warehouse is home to a global trade store. (All products hand-crafted by native individuals, fair traded, etc.) I thought this image was appropriate. 🙂

One artist creates all-weather, designed-for-the-outdoors pieces. This one reminded me of my dad (for a few different reasons, actually).

As I made my way towards the exit, I saw this cute little guy. Awww... I LOVE LIBRARIES!

This was the last image I saw as I made my way back to my car. You can see part of the warehouse through the window. (As for the sign - Grace, my dear, this one's all you.) 🙂

And look at you – you made it to the end!  I promised you a surprise, and here it is: Outside the building’s main office was a small table filled with postcards (that serve as advertisements/’business cards’ for the various artists).  I am always on the lookout for free postcards (I have a friend that I send a postcard to every week), so I picked up one of every post card that seemed cool to me.  I now have 15 artistic postcards in my possession – and I’m willing to share.  🙂  If you would like one, send me your mailing address, and I’ll drop a card your way.  Snail mail – totally old school.  But still pretty hip and cool.  😉


About Stef

A "serious" gal who is trying to remember to lighten up and smile.
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17 Responses to #44: Go to the First Thursday Art Crawl at the Northrup King building

  1. well didn’t you have a fabulous time! this is just the kind of thing I love to wander through. As long as it’s not overcrowded with people. Yay for a great day. And yep if you don’t mind the extra postage, send a card to me in Canada.


    • Stef says:

      I’m with you Joss; I’m not a fan of overcrowded spaces. The nice thing about this is that because the space is SO big, and because there are SO MANY artists to check out, I had plenty of room to move and groove. I think I was only ever with another 3 or 4 people in the same space at any time – and that was rare. It probably also helped that the day was gorgeous – so I’m sure some people preferred to be outside versus in.

      As for the post card – you got it! 🙂 I’ll drop it in the mail today.


  2. Touch2Touch says:

    It was reward enough to see all those terrific images of such diverse and exciting arts and crafts (but I’ll take a postcard if there’s still one anyway 😉
    Either it’s your discriminating eye, or MN produces particularly good artists, because rarely have I gone to a mixed art crawl where so much appeals. Well done!!!!


    • Stef says:

      MN is actually a hotbed of artistic expression – and I mean this very sincerely and genuinely. I believe we have the second-largest Fringe Festival, the second-or-third largest number of theater houses (plays, not movies), the first-or-second largest public library system, etc. etc. It’s quite amazing! I’m very grateful to live here.


  3. Very cool! I especially love that dress! 🙂
    How do I send you my mailing address? I would love a postcard! 😀


    • Stef says:

      Sharon, to send me your address, you can either leave it in a comment (which I won’t publish; I’ll just delete after I get the info from you), or you can use the Contact box on the “Share Your Happy” link (top of the page). 🙂


  4. Christine says:

    Yea, Stef! I was scrolling down through your photos and when I came across the spools of yarn, I thought “Wow – I love those!” THEN, I scrolled more and saw that you wrote that you had thought of me (or maybe it is some other rainbow-lovin’ Christine) and I was doubly geeked!

    Great pictures and story!


  5. ElizOF says:

    Gorgeous! It reminds me of an art building in the town next to ours. The artists hold a bi-year open house and people buy tickets and visit the many studios in the building. You did a terrific job covering so many artists. Excellent job! 🙂


    • Stef says:

      Thanks! It was a lot of fun to go in and just poke around – completely no-stress, occurs every month, and is absolutely free to boot! It’s a win-win-win. 🙂


  6. Looks like you had a great time.

    I liked you favourite painting too.

    I was also very touched that while I was fast asleep 4500 miles away, you thought of me. Thank you. 🙂

    I’d love postcard please. 🙂


    • Stef says:

      I did have a really good time; and I enjoyed thinking about my blogging friends as I was perusing the various works.

      I’d be happy to send you a post card! Please send me your snail-mail address, and I’ll get one off to you asap. (I can even send on to Zephy, too, if you think he might like that…)


  7. Hallysann says:

    It really looks like you had a great day, thanks for sharing it. I enjoyed the visit too. 🙂


  8. Pingback: #45: Go to Art A Whirl | Smile, kiddo.

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