Top 10 galleries in the Twin Cities

Categories: Art

All My Relations Gallery.jpg
Photo by Sheila Regan
All My Relations Gallery
It's no secret that the Twin Cities has a thriving gallery scene. So with much consideration, we  narrowed down our top picks to 10 great spaces. The wide variety of artwork showcased at these locations demonstrates the incredible diversity of arts available here.

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Purple Grape Oreo Shirt by Dietrich Sieling, at Bockley Gallery
Bockley Gallery
(2123 W. 21st St., Minneapolis; 612.377.4669;

Bockley Gallery, couched in a somewhat residential area of the Kenwood neighborhood, on the same block as Louise Erdrich's Birchbark Books and Native Arts, may be a bit hidden. However, it's a destination you should make a point to visit. Owner Todd Bockley represents some of the most inventive and imaginative artists in the Twin Cities, and the gallery's frequently changing schedule allows for plenty of reasons to make the location a regular place to stop. Native artists, artists who draw from folk traditions, and artists who just see the world a little bit differently feature prominently among the gallery's roster, and their work just might help you see the world a bit differently, too. 
See also:
The odd worlds of "The Edge of Camp" at Bockley Gallery

Whimsy, wolves, and masks: Julie Buffalohead at Bockley Gallery

Andy DuCett, "Why We Do This." at Soap Factory
The Soap Factory
(514 Second St. SE, Minneapolis; 612.623.9176;

The Soap Factory is great, not in spite of its grungy interior, but because of it. The building dates back to 1882, when it was erected by the Union Pacific Railways Storage Company. It went on to be used for industrial purposes over the years, before turning into an art gallery in the 1980s. The history of the space serves as a backdrop to all of its exhibitions, be it the annual Haunted Basement; group shows like the recent "R.U.R.," which explored the concept of robots as metaphors for industrialization, work, and identity; solo shows like the wonderful Andy DuCett exhibition; and other programming, including the 10 Second Film Festival, literary readings, performance art, and more. The Soap has a special affinity for artists who push the connection between technology and art, and its enormous space allows for some spectacular installations.

See also:
The Soap Factory explores robots as metaphor

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Soo Visual Arts Center (SooVAC)
(2638 Lyndale Ave. S., Minneapolis; 612.871.2263;

Soo Visual Arts Center (SooVAC) has a neighborhood feel, complete with two Little Free Libraries out front where you can take or leave any books as you like. Open five days a week, it's one of the most accessible galleries in town, as you can just walk in during open hours and check out what's going on. The space even offers printed maps for each show to help you navigate the work. SooVAC features a variety of (mostly) local artists, and cultivates tomorrow's talent by regularly showcasing promising work from folks coming out of MCAD. Founded by the late Suzy Greenberg, who died in 2012, the gallery has been open since 2001, and continues to thrive as a community-oriented space free of elitism. 
See also:
"Fluctuating Capacity" travels through time at SooVAC
SooVAC pays tribute to founder Suzy Greenberg

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Midway Contemporary Art
(527 Second Ave. SE, Minneapolis; 612.605.4504;

You may not "get" everything that makes its way to Midway. The types of artists shown at this southeast Minneapolis gallery tend to be very conceptual, experimenting with what is even considered art. But don't worry too much if you kind of scratch your head and go "Huh?" upon viewing the artwork here. It's all part of the experience: to challenge yourself to look at art in a different way than you have before. In fact, probably the best initiation into the gallery is to attend one of the artist talks, where a good-sized crowd usually shows up to delve a bit deeper into what the work is all about. Or, stop by on one of the openings, which are always a good party. 
See also:
'Location Volumes 5 and 6' expores the idea of books as an art gallery

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Francis Yellow working at All My Relations Gallery
All My Relations Gallery
(1414 E. Franklin Ave., Minneapolis; 612.872.4700;

The bright yellow storefront of All My Relations Gallery offers a cheery addition to Franklin Avenue along the recently named "American Indian Cultural Corridor." Housed by its parent organization, the Native American Community Development Institute, the gallery features an ambitious rotating lineup of locally and nationally known Native artists, including such fine talent as Jim Denomie, Tom Jones, and Carolyn Lee Anderson. Arts project manager Dyani Reynolds-White Hawk has proved to have a keen eye in her curatorial decisions for the gallery, and the result is a rich and varied season of exhibitions that delight, inspire, and, more often than not, make you think. 
See also:
Tom Jones explores 'Identity, Appropriation and Reclamation' at All My Relations Gallery

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