|Photo of a person admiring Alison Price's painting by Kendra Sundvall, live photo by Erik Hess|
|Which image better represents Art-A-Whirl in 2014?|
In 1996, David Felker brought an idea to the Minneapolis City Council for an art crawl to showcase the work of the growing community of artists utilizing studio space in northeast Minneapolis. Art-A-Whirl has been going strong and increasing in size ever since, featuring hundreds of artists and annually drawing upward of 30,000 visitors to the area. It's recognized as the largest open-studio tour in the nation.
The influx of people into the neighborhood for the weekend has consistently been a boon for the bars and restaurants that surround the studios, and many throw concerts to capitalize on the event. As Art-A-Whirl has evolved, the live music has arguably overshadowed the art itself. This weekend marks the 19th installment of the gathering.
"It's a pretty big issue, actually, within the arts community of Northeast," says artist Mark Rivard, who rents studio space and runs a private gallery in the California Building. "It's no longer an art show, it's a festival. I don't even know if I'll have my doors open in 2015. It's totally weird to see the crowds in the streets increase but have the money in your pocket go down tenfold."
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