A basketful of treasures awaits visitors to the 16th Annual Meander Oct 4, 5 & 6
The 16th annual Upper Minnesota River Meander Arts Crawl will be held on October 4, 5 & 6, 2019. The Meander is a free self-guided tour featuring 42 artists from 5 counties in western Minnesota. The annual event offers a chance for the public to meet with the region’s top artists in their home studios nestled among the small towns and family farms found in the Upper Minnesota River valley.
2019 Meander featured artist Claire Swanson of Granite Falls has been making stunning, museum quality baskets for 30 years from her studio/home amidst the scenic rock outcrops of the Minnesota Valley, Swanson carved a linoleum block depiction of an Adirondack basket she had made for this year’s Meander poster. It was a new challenge for her, but as an artist with a lifelong practice of attention of fine handwork, she felt confident that she could carve a linoleum block that would be worthy of the Meander poster. She was guided in the process by fellow Meander artists and veteran linocut artist Brad Hall. For Swanson, this collaborative approach is what makes the Meander so special. “We have a wonderful community of artists that are proud of their work and are supportive of each other,” Swanson said.
In addition to Swanson, this year’s Meander features four new artists including fine artist Cheryl LeClair Sommer of Dawson and midwest landscape painter Richard R. Krogstad of Ortonville. Virgil Kruse of Milan will be displaying his traditional Norwegian bentwood tina boxes and other wood carvings. Patty Kolke will be showcasing her “Artistic Instruments” from her girlhood home studio in Appleton that will display lamps, clocks and wall hangings — many of them made from repurposed instruments.
Returning artist Tamara Isfeld of Granite Falls will be exhibiting at the KK Berge Gallery and Celeste Suter will bring back her exceptional fiber art to the unique collection of buildings at the Chippewa County Historical Society in Montevideo.
The weekend will begin with studios opening at noon on Friday, October 4th. Two Meander Friday Night Celebrations will be presented. One will be a progressive dinner featuring many locations in Granite Falls from 6- 10 p.m. For more information, contact the Granite Falls Chamber at 320-564-4039 or visit http://www.granitefallschamber.com. The other will feature music by Don and Lee Kanten at the historic Watson Town Hall from 7 to 10 p.m.
Art studios throughout the region will reopen at 9 a.m. on Saturday, October 5th, and culminate with a Scandnavian music concert by Trio Larsson at Memorial Auditorium at 601 9th Street, Dawson, Minnesota. Tickets will be available at the door and sell for $15 for Adults and $5 for Students. For more information, contact the Box office: 320-769-2955 ext. 246 or www.dawsonboydarts.org
On Sunday, October 5th, art studios will again be open from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.
The Meander has become a significant economic development event for the region, according to Kristi Fernholz of the Upper Minnesota Valley Regional Development Commission. Surveys indicate that visitors travel to the region from 12 states and spend money on hotels, restaurants and gas stations. Fernholz noted that total reported art sales alone in 2018 amounted to $108,108 with average sales per artist for the weekend reaching more than $3,000.
A free brochure detailing the locations of Meander art studios and events can be obtained by calling 1-866-866-5432. The brochure can also be downloaded at: www.artsmeander.com. More information can also be found on the Meander Facebook page at www.facebook.com/MeanderArtCrawl.