The Saint Paul Art Crawl occurred this past weekend in MN Original and Twin Cities Public Television‘s back yard of Lowertown. To get more perspective on the unique artists community in Lowertown, MNO On The Go spoke with four artists about their experiences at the Art Crawl, and what it’s like to live and work in Lowertown. To see more photos of artwork from Molly Joyce, Ruthie Lund, Lisa Mathieson, Alex Kuno, and Franny Hyde, check out our Flickr gallery. If you missed the Spring Art Crawl, don’t worry — the Fall Art Crawl is only six months away!

Molly Joyce: “[My work] is one aspect of fiber arts for me, installing fabric is something that I’ve been inspired by. I like to transform space and react to it. I live and work in the same space here in the Tilsner Building and it’s the first time as an artist I’ve worked in this way. Before I would have studio space I would visit.”

 

 

“It’s nice because Lowertown is like its own small community within the city. I think there was a lot of anticipation [about the Art Crawl]. Actually the last few nights before the opening you could tell people were up late working, you could hear people practicing music and tools randomly operating in the night, the elevator was still going at three and four o’clock in the night, which isn’t typical. People are really hoping to get more attention for the neighborhood and make it a destination for more people in St. Paul. We like it when there are more people in Lowertown.”

 

 

Ruthie Lund: “I do stained glass and I also do fused glass, and I also have my own line of bath and body products. Every season, getting geared up for Art Crawl, you know it’s a heightened level of excitement, maybe a little nervousness in getting ready. Every artist has the same thought process: I have to make sure my unit it ready for maybe a thousand people to come traipsing through. So we do a lot of rearranging of our own units to make it possible for people to walk through comfortably and view our art. It’s a kind of heightened level of excitement.”

 

“I have been here for two years at the Tilsner and I enjoy it a lot. You get to meet a lot of artists of course and then you’re able to collaborate, get a lot of good ideas, and there’s also a lot of great outlets for artists to expand themselves in the art world. [The Art Crawl] is something that we want to definitely keep going forward for years to come because it’s such an important event for the arts community in Lowertown. So with the light rail coming in and the market value of the property and we have more luxury apartment living coming in, what we want to do is preserve the artist community here, because we were the ones that made this area great. So going forward we just want to make sure we keep the artist community in tact and that the Art Crawl continues to grow.”

Lisa Mathieson: “I’m working with two different forms. I work with porcelain and I also work in glass, and I’ve been working in porcelain for six or seven years and glass for maybe half of that. And I picked up glass because it’s often like clay and there’s fire involved in both. A lot of people that do glass started with ceramics. In fact I talked to someone the other day that said inside every ceramicist there’s a frustrated glass artist, which I thought was funny. But I came upon [working in glass] entirely by accident.”

 

“I’ve been [working in Lowertown] about six years. [The artists community] is a very, very tightknit family. I feel like I know a lot of the artists. When I was only here two years, people would say, oh that’s Lisa, she’s lived here forever. And you get pulled into this wonderful community and everybody is so giving, and they share their knowledge. It’s a wonderful, wonderful place.”

 

 

Alex Kuno: “The experience of working down here – it’s just been incredible. I love the atmosphere here, there are so many artists, that’s really what this area is about. Just to be able to see other artists at various stages of their careers, just puts things into perspective. What’s really great about it is you can kind of commiserate and everybody looks at you and says, yes we’re all here and we’re all working. So that’s been such a unique experience. So being a part of Art Crawl, just the energy of it and seeing people come in from all over the state in some cases, and from all over the Midwest just to participate it — the energy has just been so positive and welcoming and encouraging and inspiring.”

“One of the reasons that might make [the St. Paul Art Crawl] different is that the people live and work in this area. And so they’re showing things from their studio and they’re inviting strangers off the street into their homes. And it makes it much more intimate than at a fair. So it’s more participatory, and it’s more collaborative and more community oriented. And I know the stuff that’s being planned for the Fall Art Crawl will be really incredible.”