Minneapolis Mayor R.T. Ry­bak recently called the Meander, “One of the five great events in Minnesota.”

Minneapolis Mayor R.T. Ry­bak recently called the Meander, "One of the five great events in Minnesota."

Also known as the Upper Minnesota River Valley Art Crawl, the ninth annual Meander was held this past Oct. 5 and 6.

Kristi Fernholz, community development planner for the Upper Minnesota River Valley Regional Development Com­mission, compiled statistics on this year's event.

With 42 of the 45 participating area Meander artists reporting, total sales of their art work was $94,076, an increase of 9 percent from 2011.

"We are fortunate to have a method of collecting data that helps us gather information about who is visiting our area during the Meander weekend, what they are spending their money on, and the quality of their experience," said Fernholz.

"This 'passport' type survey is circulated during Meander, offering great prizes if completely filled out and requires each person to visit at least eight studios. We had 387 participants fill out our passport survey this year. The amount reported to be spent on lodging went up significantly, as well as food and gas."

The average sales per artist was $2,240, an increase of 5 percent from 2011.

Seventy-eight percent of the customers said their overall experience was excellent, and 71 percent called the qualify of the art excellent.

Fifty-three percent of the visitors did not attend last year's Meander, but 81 percent of them said they plan on attending again next year.

Forty-four percent of the customers came from the five-county area; 23 percent were from the metro area; 20 percent came from elsewhere in Minnesota, and 13 percent were from other states.

The typical visitor spent an average of $98 on Meander art, $41 on food and gas, $14 shopping for things other than art, and $12 on lodging.