Uptown Art Fair
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The Uptown Art Fair is the largest art fair of its kind held in Minnesota. The three-day-long fair is held every year, always during the first full weekend in August and always in Uptown, an eclectic neighborhood in south Minneapolis. The fair features artists in 12 media including sculpture, painting, jewelry, ceramics, wood and more. More than $2 million worth of artwork is sold during the event. The event attracts around 375,000 people over the course of the three-day weekend, and features about 350 artists, 20 food vendors and hundreds of volunteers. The art fair is the second largest event in Minnesota, second only to the Minnesota State Fair. The fair is free to attend and visitors can browse the art on display, purchase a piece or chat with the artist. The event also features food, a live performance stage, a youth art fair, and more.
The Uptown Association
The art fair is the primary fund-raising method for the Uptown Association, a non-profit business association whose mission is to sustain the vitality and commercial value of the Uptown community. Funds from the art fair sustain the organization and have been used in the past for streetscaping, increasing the number of police officers in the community and holding events to educate local businesses and community members on crime and safety, how to better market themselves, and how to make Uptown a commercially viable community.
The Uptown Art Fair takes place during the same weekend as the Loring Park Art Festival and the Powderhorn Art Fair. Art lovers can enjoy all three fairs, as well as skip the stresses of finding parking, by using the Metro Transit "Art Pass." The Art Pass can be downloaded from the Uptown Art Fair website for free bus and light rides between the three fairs.
A nationally recognized fine arts festival, the Uptown Art Fair has been awarded more than 100 International Festivals and Events Association (IFEA) Pinnacle Awards. The pinnacles honor the best in promotional materials and programming, and judges entries from over 3,000 member festivals from around the world. IFEA Pinnacle awards are the most prestigious in the special events industry. The Uptown Art Fair has also been ranked 8th in the nation by Art Fair Sourcebook and The Harris Guide ranked it #1 in Minnesota.
Tomorrow's Stars is a youth art fair, showcasing young artists ages 8–18, in various media from painting, to photography to drawing and jewelry. Celebrating its 9th anniversary in 2013, this event features over 40 young artists, who get the unique opportunity to experience an art fair alongside professional artists. Tomorrow's Stars is held in the early afternoon on Saturday and Sunday of the art fair inside Calhoun Square on Hennepin Avenue and Lake Street.
The performance stage is a great place to take a break from browsing, sit down and have a cold drink. Live performers in the past have included belly dancers, magic shows, dance bands, improvisational comedy and more. This isn't just any song and dance. Stop by the parking lot of Old Chicago restaurant on Hennepin Avenue to check it out.
The Wine Garden and Celebrity Art Auction can be found inside the Suburban World Theatre on Hennepin Avenue. The perfect place to cool off, Barefoot Wine and BubblyTM supplies the vino. While you're there, peruse the artwork on display. In addition to a slide presentation of all the artists on display in the Uptown Art Fair, you can also check out a showcase of art pieces created by local TV and radio personalities, dignitaries, athletes and authors, in conjunction with an Uptown artist. The silent auction takes place throughout the weekend and proceeds go to a charitable cause.
The Family Imagination Station provides the perfect environment for kids to get their hands dirty. Not only will professional ceramicists be demonstrating how they turn lumps of clay into works of art, but visitors can receive a one-on-one demonstration and create their own pieces. The activity is free and demonstrations are done by the staff at Northern Clay Center.
New in 2012 was the addition of the Culinary Art Competition. Attendees watched the Twin Cities' hottest chefs and most creative artists battle for culinary supremacy. The Culinary Arts Competition teams chefs and artists to create the most dazzling culinary art. Teams are given four key ingredients and 30 minutes to design a unique and flavorful dish and a matching piece of visual art. Local celebrities will judge each creation.
Each year, more than 1,000 artists apply for the Uptown Art Fair. The fair follows an arduous jury process, using a state-of-the-art online application system called ZapplicationTM. Each artist submits five slides of his or her work in a high-quality, digital format. Five highly qualified members of the arts community, including professors, critics and artists themselves, serve as jurors and hand pick the artists to be featured in the fair after viewing each applicant in each medium. The jurors view each artist's slides on 8-foot-tall screens and vote on who should be admitted to the fair.
The Uptown Art Fair also utilizes an on-site jury to choose the best of show winners each year. The on-site jurors are escorted around the fair on the first day of the event to choose the winners in each medium. The top ten percent and best of show winners are announced at the Artist Brunch the following morning and are invited back to the fair the following year.