July 9, 2012

Your Free Guide to Free Art in the Twin Cities: Summer Edition

Alright, so it’s Monday. Back to reality after the holiday weekend. Now that we’re past the national mid-point of summer, it’s time to focus on making the most of the next two months. What am I doing to pursue this goal? Great question. Let’s start with taking advantage of the homework-free weeknights by exploring the city. Minneapolis and St. Paul are packed with events over the next six weeks and the best part is that most of them are FREE (adjective ( freer |ˈfrēər|, freest |ˈfrēəst|); definition: no cost; large attraction for college students and pretty much every other person in the world).

This weekend (July 14th & 15th) marks the opening of the Weisman Art Museum’s newest exhibit: The WAM Files: The Art of the Archives. Free and open to the public, this on-campus exhibit is a perfect excuse to get out of the house and explore a blast from the past (Mad Men attire optional).

Not quite two weeks later, WAM will be hosting another event, focusing on the second temporary exhibition on view in the main galleries: Tenuous, Though Real. Concentrated on MN artists, this exhibition will be complimented by a WAM Chatter on Wednesday, July 25. The topic, Are There Ties That Bind Minnesota Artists?, will give scholars a chance to consider the ways in which Minnesota artists are connected through the land and their work. The fast-paced topic talk will keep you on your toes, all the while giving blasts of history and thoughtful questions. If you like a good brain-teaser, or something to spark conversation with the cute person sitting next to you, this is the spot to be. And, as always, it’s free.

Before, after, and in between your visits to WAM, make sure to check out the range of other free art events around the Twin Cities. Altered Esthetics, a free Minneapolis-based gallery, just opened their most recent show: Collecting Evidence. Based on the collection, examination, investigation, and documentation of “traces left behind,” this show exhibits 18 different artists, with at least one artist sure to spark your curiosity. Though I missed the opening reception, the real fun lies on Saturday, July 21st, with an artists’ discussion from 1-3pm. Yes, I know, some of you might just be rolling out of bed at 1… okay 2:30pm.. BUT this show should be a reason to get up early.

Need something to do that isn’t too far from campus? Check out the Northrup King Studios in NE Minneapolis. The NE Arts District has a way with slipping under the radar, but in actuality, it’s one of the best places in Minneapolis to check out free and local art (something WAM Collective really, really loves). Your best bet while visiting the studios is to visit on the first Thursday of every month. Plan for Thursday, August 2nd, to be your introductory experience to First Thursdays in the Arts District. First Thursdays are a great way to interact with a multitude of artists from every medium who open their workspaces to the public. The monthly event includes delicious snacks (free root-beer floats!) and even a free drink token so that you and your friends can enjoy happy hour after visiting the studios.

Finally: Quick! Before it closes! You must check out the new work by Broken Crow: We Did What We Could, on display at XYandZ (free!). Closing on July 21st, this show could be a highlight of your summer. The Minneapolis-based duo that makes Broken Crow has made a name for themselves by pushing the limits with innovative works of public and private art, depending on how you choose to display it. Their work, made not just for walls, but entire sides of buildings, is a collection of large-scale stencil murals. Artists John Grider and Mike Fitzsimmons have work displayed in places including St. Paul, Duluth, New York City, Paris, London, and Mexico City. Broken Crow’s most recent exhibition, We Did What We Could, is a showcase of their ongoing exploration of both public and fine art. Go see the show before it closes, or you might have to set out on a city-wide scavenger hunt for their work.