Loosened from the mud, I find myself floating in a world of possibility.

So can you.

Art-A-Whirl: The Thorp Building

Art-A-Whirl is a huge event that takes up the entire city district of NE Minneapolis. I don't think it's possible to see it all in one weekend. I think the best strategy is to plan to visit different buildings each year. This year we went to the Thorp Building which is located off of Central Avenue. It is considered to be the birthplace of Art-A-Whirl, the country's largest open studio art crawl.

Our day began with a quick lunch at Uncle Franky's. The great thing about our weekend was that the Big D and I had done this several years ago as a couple, now we got to bring along the Baby Lotus Bud. It felt like life was resuming it's normal feel, but just that much better because of the Baby.

Sometime, ya know, especially at the onset of summer, you just need a hot dog. When that craving hits, we always head to Uncle Franky's.


Something about the sign always makes me want to shout it out.

They have a great outdoor seating area and that's what we did, with the Baby in her stroller next to us, we chowed down these hot dogs and fries and a big glass of lemonade. They are all-beef, nitrate-free dogs.

I had the Chicago dog.


Bellies full with the necessary fuel to take on Art-W-Whirl, we made our way to the Thorp Building which houses over 65 artists and their studios. There is such a wide range of art produced in this building that attempting to blog about it is a daunting task.

There is everything from fiber arts...

...to Michael Birawer's gallery (baby in picture not for sale!)....

...to this...this elephant hanging in a massive open warehouse right in the middle of the building.

The Thorp Building was built in 1902 and originally, sliding metal-clad fire doors were made there. Eventually in WWII, it became an undercover building site for the military. Now, in this century it houses artists. I love that the interesting history is retained in the re-use of these buildings.

And I have to admit, I loved wandering through this old building just as much as I enjoyed the Art studios.

It was like a maze, a labyrinth in the building with many hallways and rooms to explore. It reminded me of one of those choose-your-own-adventure books.

After wandering down this hall and that one, between these windows and around a dark corner or two, we ended up in large warehouse area which contained a variety of interesting arts installation.

I readily admit I did not fully understand this visual installation but it made for a great photo opportunity.

Is there is something odd about making photos of other art, as art?

Is it a subtle commentary about arts these days, consumption and creation all being inevitably linked?

I don't know. I doubt I'm that clever.

But, this artist certainly is. I love those pieces that re-use things already in existence.

This one was a multi-media installation with visual and audio elements. I don't know if the windows were already there just waiting to be used creatively or what.

I love this picture because I was able to insert myself into the view due to the reflection off the windows.

The video and audio repeated itself over and over.

Quite maddening, actually. Was that the point?

A not-so-subtle reminder of the constant droning of today's media, never-ending sound and pictures caught through the frame of centuries old windows.

I love it!

It was in this warehouse that you get a sense of the diversity of art at Art-A-Whirl. On another wall was this ceramics display. As wonderful as these pieces were, I kept wondering how the woman handles the incessant noise of the nearby by multi-media installation.

This looks like a Pangaea to me. The continents in their younger years, a view of a fetal planet.

I am always struck by the color blue in art. Such a vibrant, but pleasant color.

Blue to me is the sky and brown, the earth. That's what this potter captured in her work. Actually, I should these potters as this display was the work of several ceramic artists.

I have no idea what this tent is about. To be totally honest, I shot an image because I saw another photographer getting jiggy with it. He was sprawled down on the floor, circling the tent on his belly, taking a lot of low-angle shots. I shot it thinking I'd get a chance to gaze upon it at home and figure out the artist's intention. I'm looking and nothing is coming to me.

Gah, I seriously hope it's not just a place for the artist to camp out over night.

Get it? Camp out?

Oh. Forget it.

Let's move on....

....to the random canvases that graced several walls of this warehouse.

Forget the galleries. I want to always see Art in the middle of a century-old manufacturing warehouse all the time!

And, finally we come to this...this thing...this elephant...this elephant bicycle? There was a woman disassembling this elephant as we walked by. I think it might have been part of the May Day festival, but that's just a wild guess because the Powderhorn May Day Parade always has large puppets from the Heart of the Beast.

This elephant was magnificent and majestic.

A virtual Ganesh blessing the artful weekend.

It shimmered and fluttered as it was being taken apart.

It had life even in it's destruction.

What a day!

I can't believe how much there was to see in just this one warehouse....


  1. Whenever I read your posts like this, its like I've had a mini-vacation and seen the things you describe for myself. Thank you lovely one for sharing your part of the world with us.

    love and hugs xxx

  2. Thank you, Elle! That was a very validating comment. It makes me feel like the effort to do this, being so far from the actual day, seems all worthwhile!


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