This Saturday and Sunday the first-ever Minnesota River Arts Fair will take place at in Shakopee.
The event, with more than 40 fine artists exhibiting and selling their work, is a geared to art lovers as well as people who want to learn more about art.
“We purposely put the “s” in the name when we called it an 'Arts Fair,'" said Denise Baerg, the event’s media coordinator.
Besides booths with ceramics, fiber art, glass, mixed-media, painting photography and wood, there will also be music, book signings and a poetry reading.
35 plein air (French for “open air”) painters will also be in attendance at the fair. These artists are contestants in a weeklong outdoor painting competition. They are currently in the midst of a one-week painting period, during which they have free reign to paint anything, anywhere on-site at The Landing. The competition began at noon on July 22 and will end this Saturday. Competition judges will distribute more than $1,000 in cash and prizes.
The “quick paint” competition – where 35 artists paint the same nature scene in an hour and a half – is perhaps the weekend’s signature event. Awards for both competitions will be held at 2 p.m. Saturday.
There are also many other activities including artist demonstrations, costumed historical interpreters, and food vendors.
The Arts Fair also has a number of activities specifically geared toward children.
“The festival is a great event for families,” says Baerg. “It’s very kid friendly. There’s a children's tent ... where they can attend sessions on drawing, illustration and writing.”
The weekend also gives people a chance to see some of the historical buildings at the Landing, including the 1845 fur post, 1857 farm, a barn with chickens, sheep and Guernsey calves, a one-room schoolhouse and an 1880s village.
This new celebration was the brainchild of Jefferson Spilman, managing director of The Landing. Spilman proposed the idea approximately 18 months ago and since then the Three Rivers Park District and the Savage Arts Council have worked together to coordinate the event.
The artists who are scheduled to have booths at the fair were all specifically chosen by a selection committee.
“The caliber of artists seemed to be very high,” said Lisa Tate, a Moorhead-based glass artists who will be displaying her work at the fair.
If you go:
What: Minnesota River Arts Fair
Where: The Landing, Shakopee
When: Saturday and Sunday, July 28-29, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Cost: Free admission
More information: http://mnriverartsfair.org/en/home-top