Art-A-Whirl // Birthplace of art crawl promises to thrill

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May 7, 2012 // UPDATED 11:25 am - May 7, 2012
By: Michelle Bruch
Michelle Bruch

LOGAN PARK — If you’re looking to be dazzled during Art-A-Whirl, the birthplace of the arts extravaganza at 1620 Central Ave. NE is a safe bet. 

“The Thorp building is always very inventive,” said Alejandra Pelinka, executive director of the Northeast Minneapolis Arts Association. “They work really hard to make it unique.”

This year’s highlights include a building-wide scavenger hunt, Vicknair Photography’s live photo shoot with fashion models on Friday, May 18 from 5:30–7:30 p.m., and the dance performance “A Duet for Wreck” by the Black Label Movement on Friday at 9 p.m. and Saturday at 7 p.m.

Pizza Luce will sell slices next to massive Lego models at Brickmania Toyworks, art students from Bethel University will exhibit and sell their senior thesis artwork, and a photo contest will ask guests to tweet photos of the building to compete for a prize. 

The Thorp building was used to manufacture armaments during World War II. The site’s historic guard tower base still stands, and Thorp has started using it to showcase a sculpture during Art-A-Whirl each year. This year’s sculpture is by Drew Bode, whose objective was to “put into form the subtle moments of unity in life.”

Keeping tabs 

of visitors 

The Northeast Minneapolis Arts Association is printing off more than 30,000 passes to distribute to guests during Art-A-Whirl, in an effort to command some idea of the volume of visitors. 

Guests can cash in the passes for raffle prizes, receiving credit for each Art-A-Whirl location they visit. 

The crowd count will be overseen by the Minnesota Evaluation Studies Institute.

In addition to counting attendance, NEMAA is starting to tally up Art-A-Whirl’s economic impact. Staff are asking local businesses for a rough idea of their growth in sales and traffic during the May 18–20 weekend. 

“This is probably going to be a small pilot study,” Pelinka said. “We could see it expand in the future.”

Michelle Bruch