The annual Arts Meander is back Oct. 1st, 2nd and 3rd

Upper Minnesota River Art Crawl
John White's photography display from a previous Meander.

After foregoing in-person studio visits due to COVID-19 and hosting an online art auction last year, the popular Meander Upper Minnesota River Valley Art Crawl is back -- in-person with more than 40 artists ready to meet visitors the weekend of October 1, 2, and 3, 2021.

“All the artists are excited to greet visitors in their studios and exhibiting spaces this year,” said Kristi Fernholz of the Upper Minnesota Valley Regional Development Commission, who helps organize the annual event. “Last year’s auction attracted some new participants and customers who we hope will be back to see what all our local artists have been creating during the lockdown.”

Recognizing that the latest spike in COVID infections may still be a deterrent when the Meander weekend arrives, Fernholz said that the event will follow CDC guidelines and that masks will be available. If possible, some artists will be exhibiting outside and others may limit the number of visitors at one time to their studios to prevent overcrowding. All Meander participants are strongly encouraged to be vaccinated.

The Meander is a free self-guided tour featuring 41 artists from 5 counties in western Minnesota. The annual event offers a chance for the public to meet with the region’s top artists in their home studios nestled among the small towns and family farms found in the Upper Minnesota River valley.

The 2021 Meander featured artist is Neva Foster who will be exhibiting at the Red Barn north of Ortonville. Neva started watercolor painting more than 15 years ago in an effort to find a creative outlet. “Painting takes me to a meditative place that I crave,” Neva said. Her design for the Meander brochure artwork is a print featuring Oak, Elm, and Maple leaves. “The drive along the Minnesota River valley is spectacular with all the different leaves lining the shores.,” she explained.

This year’s Meander features several new artists including woodworker Joe Hauger of Granite Falls, Deborah Meyer of Madison, Jason Frank a nature photographer, sculptor, and paper artist from the Ortonville area. From the Clinton area, fine art painters Susan Rook Lundell and Patti Karsky -- a jewelry maker and watercolorist -- will be exhibiting for the first time.

Writer M.E. Fuller of Montevideo, Multi-media artists Adam Preuss & Jess Gorman of Granite Falls and Mark Mustful of the Ortonville area joined the art auction last year as new Meander artists but this will be the first year Meander participants will be able to see their work in person.

The weekend will begin with studios opening at noon on Friday, October 1. A Meander Friday Night Celebration will be held starting at 6 p.m. in Granite Falls. The “Light up the River” celebration will

feature a neon parade on the historic footbridge over the Minnesota river, outdoor film music, dining, and shopping. Details and the full schedule can be found at www.visitgranitefalls.com and facebook.com/lovegranitefalls

Art studios throughout the region will reopen at 9 a.m. on Saturday, October 2, and the second day will culminate with a concert starting at 7 p.m. at the Dawson Memorial Auditorium featuring Country Classics with the Traveling Opry Show featuring Becky Schlegel. For more information and tickets visit www.dawsonboydarts.org or call 320-312-2311. Tickets will also be available at the door.

On Sunday, October 3, art studios will again be open from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Videos of some of the participating Meander artists have been produced for social media distribution. They can be viewed on the Meander website at www.artsmeander.com.

A free brochure detailing the locations of Meander art studios and events can be obtained by calling 1-866-866-5432. The brochure can also be downloaded at: www.artsmeander.com. More information can be found on the Meander Facebook page at www.facebook.com/MeanderArtCrawl.