An evening of art and wine

Gallery crawls are making a comeback in downtown Minneapolis.

Brenda Tran

A new crawl has cropped up in Minneapolis — and it doesn’t involve zombies or pubs.
On Feb. 4, more than 20 art galleries between the Mississippi River and Lake Street will open their doors from 4 to 8 p.m. to provide a collective aesthetic experience.
The lengthy list of spaces participating in the Minneapolis Gallery Crawl includes Instinct, Groveland, Form + Content and Circa.
Gallery tour events have all but disappeared in Minneapolis in recent years but were popular decades ago when downtown consistently raked in active crowds as the city’s hub for art seekers. However, rent spikes and retail development forced many galleries to relocate.
“Back in the ’80s and ’90s there was a really active gallery scene in Downtown Minneapolis. … That’s when the art scene regrew itself in the northeast,” Jim Dryden, founding member of Form + Content Gallery, said. 
Since then, the galleries have begun re-establishing themselves back in the city.
The relocation of galleries and the formation of new ones has sprawled galleries across Minneapolis, making a traditional crawl more difficult. Organizers of the event plan on attendees exploring within specific clusters of galleries.
Although arts and studio events have appeared on a regular basis in the city, it wasn’t until last year that a gallery crawl in Minneapolis re-emerged. 
John Schuerman is one of the curators who helped pull together the new gallery crawls. A curator at Instinct Gallery, Schuerman said the Minneapolis Gallery Crawl is a way to revitalize the local gallery scene.
“I got together with some of the other gallerists and started talking with them about some things we can do to try to stimulate the art community in the Twin Cities,” he said, “how we might help one another and anything we might do to cross-promote.”
Because many of the galleries operate in different time frames, Thursday’s crawl is an opportunity for attendees to experience a diversity of shows in a single evening.
“All the galleries in the crawl have their own audience. This event creates a shared audience where people move from one gallery to the next and experience what’s different about [each gallery],” Schuerman said. 
“I think it gives the audience a feel for the range of culture that’s happening at these galleries.”
In addition, the Gallery Crawl lets those unfamiliar to art galleries to experience them in a social setting. 
“Sometimes people are too intimidated to come into galleries,” Dryden said. “This creates an opportunity to make people feel more comfortable and welcome.” 
The crawl is just one sign of revitalized collaboration within Minneapolis’ gallery community. 
“My favorite part of it is seeing the galleries work together and try to bring back what we had,” Dryden said. “It’s something that we’ve missed.”
Minneapolis Gallery Crawl
Where Downtown Minneapolis
When 4-8 p.m. Thursday
Cost Free