Northeast spotlight: An onslaught of art

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October 26, 2009 // UPDATED 5:02 pm - October 26, 2009
By: Lana Walker
Lana Walker
Thirteen years ago, when Debbie Woodward’s father handed her the reins to the Northrup King Building in Northeast Minneapolis, she was at a loss for what to do with the massive warehouse structure.

“He said, ‘Fill it up’,” Woodward recalled. “I said, ‘With what?’”

That was then — when the brick building was somewhat crass and cumbersome, and home to a handful of independent artists’ studios. Today, while arguably still the same on the outside, the Northrup King building serves a significant role in the center of the Twin Cities’ art culture.

“As time went on, art really became our niche,” said Woodward, the building manager.

The building, located at 1500 Jackson St. NE, now holds nearly 200 studios and galleries, all of which will be open to the public Nov. 6–8 at the 12th annual Art Attack.

Art Attack is an opportunity for people of all levels of arts intellect to walk the corridors of the four-story Northrop King Building and experience all the creative works it has to offer. Visitors will be able to meet the artists in their private design spaces and purchase art as well.

“The event is designed for people who are new to art, but for people who do a lot of collecting, this is a great place to be, too,” Woodward said.

Art Attack features a variety of work, primarily created by the local artists of the Northrup King Building with the exception of about 25 outside artists who have been invited to join the event. The displays include — but are not limited to — painting, drawing, sculpture, photography, custom furniture, fiber arts, metal work, ceramics, glass, handcrafted and custom jewelry, mixed media and mosaics.

“Some people love poster art and screen-printing, and we have it,” Woodward said. “On the other hand, we have $10,000 oil paintings, too — these, and everything in between. The beauty of the event is that you and your friend can come and not have similar tastes at all, but both find something you like and really enjoy yourselves.”

It’s also fun for the artists, many who are nationally and internationally known. Woodward explained that while many of the artists strive to make a living through their craft, all of them know the value that simple exposure brings.

“They hope to sell their artwork, but they always enjoy the opportunity to really engage with the public and get feedback on their work,” she said.

In addition to the studios inside the Northrup King Building, Art Attack is pleased to welcome its first outdoor exhibit this year in the form of hand-built traditional Mongolian huts, called yurts. Also outside will be the Magic Bus Café, a 1978 Chevrolet school bus-turned-diner that keeps the mood groovy with its old-school rock ‘n’ roll motif and bellies full with several tasty spins on the traditional hot dog.

“We’re starting to put our feelers out a little more to let the rest of the world know we’re here,” she said. “I think we have a lot to offer.”

Art Attack
What: An open studio and gallery crawl featuring work by more than 200 artists.
When: 5–10 p.m. Nov. 6; noon–
8 p.m. Nov. 7; noon–5 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 8,
Where: Northrup King Building, 1500 Jackson St. NE