Give Art-a-Whirl a spin

Pretty people, parties and art to expand your local consciousness

Zach Pearl's

Ashley Goetz

Zach Pearl’s “My Father Was a Pieces” is just one of the many pieces of art in Art-a-Whirl. PHOTO COURTESY ZACH PEARL.

ART-a-WHIRL WHEN: May 15 to 17 WHERE: Northeast Minneapolis MORE INFO: HereâÄôs the deal about Art-a-Whirl, a three-day celebration of art in Northeast Minneapolis: Not only is it a hub of creativity, from mosaics and portraits to sculpture and glass-blowing demos, but itâÄôs also going to be a flurry of pretty people and parties. YouâÄôll see urban legend Scott Seekins and FOX anchor/art fanatic Robyne Robinson, possibly mingling with Ellen Dahl from the Minneapoline as she snaps photos of the fashionable. ItâÄôs a perfect place to start an art collection locally. Art-a-Whirl, now in its 14th year, is also a touchstone of the Minneapolis arts scene and a weekend of traveling exhibits. The festival is sponsored by the Northeast Minneapolis Arts Association, which serves to support local artists and promote their work. Sartor said that the teenaged Art-a-Whirl has grown substantially over the past few years, and this year she expects more than 30,000 people to filter through Northeast to peruse the galleries, studios and silent auctions of the more than 100 artists who are members of NEMAA. Art exhibits often bring to mind staid, silent galleries. Not so, said Kate Iverson, a NEMAA member, lâÄôetoile contributor and one of Art-a-WhirlâÄôs organizers. âÄúGetting a group of friends together to explore cool, warehouse art spaces and old buildings filled with colorful art is a fantastic opportunity to connect with the art scene on a personal level,âÄù she said. Plus, thereâÄôll be parties. âÄúArtists traditionally like their art with a side of excess, so you’ll have no trouble finding parties throughout the district this Art-A-Whirl,âÄù Iverson said. Artists to check out: Ruben Nusz : Mixed media artist Nusz dips into history for inspiration. HeâÄôs done portraits based on F. Scott FitzgeraldâÄôs famously tortured wife, Zelda, as well as Andrea Yates, who drowned her children several years ago. According to NuszâÄôs website, he selects subjects to address loss, love, failure and promotion. Barbara Steen : Mosaic artist Barbara Steen took WarholâÄôs “Marilyn” and translated it to mosaic, further cementing the facets of celebrity and media culture exemplified by the pop artist. Some of the highlights: âÄúMore is a Four-Letter Word,âÄù guest-curated by mplsart director Emma Berg âÄî This five-artist exhibit speaks on the wants of society in an economic climate where we are told to focus on what we need. What is our desire, and is it a good thing or a terrible one? Alex KunoâÄôs âÄúThe Miscreants of Tiny TownâÄù is three years in the making and tells the painted tale of children whoâÄôve been plunged into a scary world, kind of like âÄúLord of the Flies.âÄù Starts May 15 (runs through June) 6 p.m. to 11 p.m. The Gallery at Fox Tax, 503 1st Ave. N.E. Art-a-Whirl Silent Auction âÄî More than 100 items from Art-a-Whirl artists have been donated to the silent auction, whose profits continue the work of the NEMAA. Starts May 15 Northrup King building, 1500 Jackson St. N.E., 3rd floor AAW at Grain Belt âÄî This free multimedia event features visual artists, clay sculptors, performance artists and filmmakers at the Grain Belt building all weekend long. Runs all weekend Grain Belt building, 79 13th Ave. N.E. Other notable happenings: spinning wheel demonstration, Rock Show + Live Art!, 25 percent off framing any art purchased from Art-a-Whirl For a full schedule of events, check out