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LoLa Means Getting to Know Your Local Artists
by John Clay, editor-in-chief
Getting to know artists as neighbors, sharing conversation with art-lovers you meet along the way, buying local art—it's all part of the annual LoLa Art Crawl in the Greater Longfellow neighborhood of south Minneapolis, Minnesota.
"This is my first year with LoLa", said artist Julie Kearns, who does photography and what she calls adaptive reuse of found materials. "I attended last year's crawl just weeks after making an offer on my new home in the neighborhood, and immediately knew that I wanted to participate."
The 2011 LoLa Art Crawl, organized by the artists and supporters of the League of Longfellow Artists, will be held Saturday and Sunday, August 27 and 28, from 10:00 AM to 5:00 PM. The self-guided tour features exhibits at artists' homes or studios, and at local businesses, throughout the Greater Longfellow neighborhood.
Whether you're walking, biking, or driving, it's a chance to glimpse inside the creative workspaces of local artists working in jewelry, pottery, glasswork, painting, photography, textiles, sculpture, and many other art forms.
Beginning in 2009 as a small grassroots effort, LoLa now flourishes as an artist-run annual art crawl featuring 102 artists showing at 60 neighborhood sites, with support from the Longfellow Community Council and local businesses. The art crawl is open to the public, free of charge. The artists will be offering their art for sale, just in time for shoppers to get a jump on the holiday season.
Like Kearns, painter Megan Moore got to know the neighborhood through LoLa. "We moved into the neighborhood in 2009, the same weekend that the first LoLa art crawl took place", Moore said. "I visited a few of the other artists and knew I would be participating the following year. This summer I am doing a painting a day, 'Postcards from Minnesota'. I am also starting a couple of larger commissioned works. I enjoy opening my home to people who are interested in my art."
Peter Koeleman, a professional photographer, agrees, "I like the camaraderie of the neighborhood. I've met so many talented people and seen so much great work."
Participating in LoLa has been a natural choice for local businesses too. "We've supported community artists in our store for many years, and being a part of the LoLa art crawl is a natural extension of that involvement", said Karen O'Connor and Paige Pelini, owners of Mother Earth Gardens at 3738 42nd Avenue South. "The art crawl is great for the artists and the neighborhood."
Find maps and more information online at lolaartcrawl.com.
© John Clay
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