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10 Years of Meander Success

by Dawn Hegland on December 10th, 2013

meander-carved-welcome-signOver 10 years ago, a small group of artists, regional government, and community members started to envision what an art crawl could do for the upper Minnesota River Valley.  The goal was to have local municipalities, regional government and businesses to embrace the promotion of local, place based art as an economic development strategy.  Through collaborative efforts, this is well on its way to becoming a reality.

This year was the 10th year of the Meander Art Crawl, and we can safely say that more people know about our area, more people have visited our area and more people have spent money in our area because of the Meander.  We are extremely proud of our event, which has been called the premier art crawl in Greater Minnesota.  Mayor R.T. Ryback called the Meander “One of the five great events in Minnesota…. You should stay overnight”.


The numbers are in for the 2013 Meander Art Crawl, and despite cold rainy weather, it turned out to be another successful weekend!

  • With 40 of the 45 artists reporting, the total art sales reported so far is $90,874. The average sales per artist went up slightly so we can assume that total art sales was similar to 2012.


We are fortunate to have  a method of collecting data that helps us gather information about who is visiting our area during the Meander weekend, what they are spending their money on, and the quality of their experience.  This “passport” type survey is circulated during Meander, offering great prizes if completely filled out and requires each person to visit at least 8 studios. We had 373 participants fill out our passport survey this year.  The amount spent on lodging went up significantly as well as food and gas.  The results shown below are tabulated from the 2013 artist and customer surveys that have been turned in.


  • $90,874  Total reported Meander art sales to customers during the Meander weekend(40/45 surveys reported) 2012 reported $94,076 with 42 surveys returned
  • $2,271  Average reported art sales per artist. Increase of 1% from 2012.
  • 76%  Money raised to organize the Meander through sponsors and artists was spent on products or services (printing, paper, advertising, graphic design, staffing) in the five county area. Meander spent over $10,000 on advertising in 2013; 26% of the total budget.
  • 70-1100  Reported total number of customers at individual studios for the entire weekend.
  • 11 studios  Average number of studios customers visited.
  • 3 people per travel party (on average)


  • 71% of customers said the quality of the art was excellent
  • 77% of customers said their overall experience was excellent


  • 53% did NOT attend last year
  • 79% plan to attend again next year
  • 20% maybe plan to attend next year


  • 43% came from within 5-county area
  • 25% came from greater Minnesota (outside 5-county area)
  • 20% came from the metro area
  • 12% came from out of state


Average Expenditures per Customer:  (373 reporting in 2013  vs. 387 in 2012)

  • $112 on Meander Art ($98 in 2012)
  • $41 on Food/Gas ($41 in 2012)
  • $20 on Shopping, other than art ($14 in 2012)
  • $16 on Lodging ($12 in 2012)


This information is available to download as a PDF – click here for the PDF.

For more about Meander Upper Minnesota River Art Crawl:


Moonstone Farm, Meander artists since the beginning. Photo by Jeffrey Blaseg.

Moonstone Farm, Meander artists since the beginning. Photo by Jeffrey Blaseg.


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