Instead of opening their homes and studios for a few days in October for the St. Paul Fall Art Crawl, east metro artists are showing off their work all month.
Virtually, of course.
COVID concerns mean the art crawl, a major event in the spring and fall for St. Paul artists, can’t take place as usual – with crowds meandering from studio to studio to chat with the makers, perhaps nosh a little wine and cheese and peruse and purchase art.
The Saint Paul Art Collective, which sponsors the twice-a-year St. Paul Art Crawl, has designated October as Art Month. There will be virtual studio tours, a live auction and a virtual Lowertown Art Crawl, as well as a virtual Greater St. Paul Art Crawl.
“Artists have been creating like mad at home – incredible things,” said Lisa McCann, director of communications for the St. Paul Art Collective.
But artists are also struggling. “Everybody’s resources are dwindling,” McCann said.
The Spring St. Paul Art Crawl usually happens in April, but went virtual as the pandemic shut things down just a month earlier. The Art Collective created a virtual crawl last spring, and worked with artists on online presentations and sales.
More than 100 artists were involved in the virtual spring art crawl. “Some artists sold things they’d never sold before,” McCann says. “A lot of what we learned last spring, we’ve been able to move to fall.”
The Art Collective also learned from what other groups such as Springboard for the Arts, Northeast Minneapolis Arts Association and Pride Week did to move events online, McCann says.
With so many places to visit on a typical St. Paul Arts Crawl, it’s impossible to see them all in one weekend, McCann says. “Now, you can sit on your couch and click through a bunch of them.”
Of course, she adds, you’ll need to have your own wine and cheese, since you won’t be able to nibble on what the artists set out in their studios.
“Local art is important, especially with the disconnect we’re all feeling,” McCann says. “It brings people together.
“There won’t be fireworks for the kickoff (of Art Month), just words, hopes and dreams.”
For info on the auction (75 percent of the sales income goes directly to the artists), participating artists or the virtual art crawls, go to stpaulartcollective.org or the Saint Paul Art Collective Facebook page. Events are free.
For artists, Art Month activities aren’t limited to members of the collective. Artists who aren’t members can sign up to get in on all of the promotions for $45. Members pay $20 for Art Month. (A membership to the collective is $120 annually.)