This weekend marks the 17th Annual Art-A-Whirl, where artists, studios, and galleries across Northeast Minneapolis open their doors to the public. Organized by the Northeast Minneapolis Arts Association (NEMAA), Art-A-Whirl is the largest open-studio tour in the country, with 400+ artists showing their work in over 50 locations. Throughout MN Original‘s three seasons, we’ve profiled a number of NEMAA artists who have helped make Northeast Minneapolis into a thriving arts community, including: Michael Schmidt, Britta Kaupilla, Laura Hallen, Kristen Arden, and J. M. Culver. We reconnected with these artists to find out what they’ve been up to since appearing on MN Original, and what they’re looking forward to at this year’s Art-A-Whirl.


What developments have occurred in your art and career since your appearance on MN Original?

Michael Schmidt: Since my appearance on MN Original, my art career has continued to grow and progress steadily. Part of remaining busy means painting everyday, which translates into a steady evolution in my artistic style. When I look back at the work I was doing at the time I was profiled for MN Original, I would say that my work has simplified since then, becoming more confident and almost abstract at times.  

Michael Schmidt appeared in Episode #105 on May 20, 2010

Britta Kauppila: For the past year and a half I have worked full time on my jewelry and am self-supported by my art, a true dream come true! My work is now carried in more galleries in Minnesota and Wisconsin and coming soon to California. Within the last year I have also concentrated on building a wedding and commitment ring collection and love to work directly with couples to find the perfect rings for the special occasion.

Britta Kauppila appeared in Episode #108 on June 10, 2010

Laura Hallen: Since I was on MN Original, I have received a MN State Arts Board Grant for Artist Initiative, where I explored and experimented with new materials I previously did not have access to. I was selected to show my work at SooVac for Untitled 8, juried by Bartholomew Ryan, Walker’s Assistant Visual Art Curator. I also exhibited work at the Spyhouse on Nicolett, Rue 48 Salon in South Minneapolis, and am now preparing for a show at One Yoga in June of 2012. 

Laura Hallen appeared in Episode #220 on January 06, 2011

Kristen Arden: Since my episode aired in January of 2011, I’ve been working on developing some new series, in particular my Bindings Series, which are larger scaled free standing sculptures.  The first in the series was a commercial outdoor sculpture that was installed in White Bear Lake last summer.  I’m currently fabricating the second which will go in Edina’s 2012 Public Art Promenade.  I’ve just proposed the third in the series for a potential commercial commission as an indoor sculpture that would, if accepted, be installed later this year. 

Kristen Arden appeared in Episode #223 on January 27, 2011

J. M. Culver: I finished out my term as Board Chair and Exhibitions Chair at SSCA Gallery and moved to New York to attend Syracuse University for my MFA in Painting. After a few months I decided to move back to Minneapolis and dedicate all my time to working in the studio. I’ve been working on a new body of large scale paintings and smaller experimental mixed media work. I have several upcoming exhibitions and other projects such as studio workshops and curatorial work in Minneapolis. I am giving a lecture as a Visiting Artist at East Carolina University in the Fall and plan to travel to Italy for an artist’s retreat later in the year. 

J. M. Culver appeared in Episode #233 on April 11, 2011

What are you most looking forward to at Art-A-Whirl?

Michael Schmidt: What I most look forward to at Art A Whirl is interacting with the public.  I spend much of my artistic life alone in the studio, so an event like Art A Whirl is a great opportunity to meet people face to face and get feedback about my work.

Britta Kauppila: I’m looking forward to seeing the herds of people and sharing my work with art appreciators.  It’s so fun meeting new people and getting feedback. It’s great seeing old friends who come every year and so great meeting new ones who connect with your work.  Unfortunately as artists we don’t get to get out and see all the goodness like everyone else since we’re working all weekend, but I know I have to run down to the second floor of the Northrup King Building #272 to see Berry Holz and her new spray painted landscapes.  They are so fun and filled with joy, it is impossible not to smile looking at her work. I have two paintings already and might have to add a third!

Laura Hallen: I am looking forward to sharing this new body of work and getting feedback from a wide variety of people. With all of the events and hype that surrounds Art-A-Whirl, many people forget that it is all about Visual Art. Some of the artists worth checking out are Eddie Hamilton, Cody Kiser, Kurt Seaberg and Eleanor McGough all in the Northrup King Building; Amelia Biewald who is exhibiting at Rosalux Gallery, and Annabella Sardelis in her studio at the Q.arma Building.

Kristen Arden: My studiomates and I have been giving our studio a facelift so it’ll be fun to be there with a freshly painted floor and new and rearranged artwork.  It’s always a fun weekend of talking to visitors and getting to see a lot of the other artists in the building that I don’t see as frequently now that I’ve moved the shop part of my studio. Artists not to miss out on: Leslie Pilgrim, Shannyn Joy Potter, Karin Jacobson, Emily Dyer, Ann Wood and Dean Lucker, Ingrid Restemayer, Sharra Frank, Michael Schmidt, Kelly Marshall.

J. M. Culver: I am excited about this being my first time participating in Art A Whirl. I’m looking forward to sharing my recent work, connecting with other artists, and interacting with the visitors. I’d recommend for visitors to check out as many open studios as possible. You never know what exciting new things are around the corner or on the next floor!

What are the first three words that come to your mind when thinking about Art-A-Whirl?

Michael Schmidt: Art, Energy, Crowds.

Britta Kauppila: Absolute art mayhem.

Laura Hallen: Anticipation, Camaraderie, Discussion.

Kristen Arden: Lots of people.

J. M. Culver: Community, Excitement, Exploration.

Check out our Flickr gallery to see some of the new works that these talented artists will be showing at Art-A-Whirl this weekend.

Michael Schmidt is located in Suite #423 of the Northrup King Building.
Britta Kauppila is located in Suite #435 of the Northrup King Building.
Laura Hallen is located in Suite #428 of the Northrup King Building.
Kristen Arden is located in Suite #432 of the Northrup King Building.
J. M. Culver is located in Suite #505 of the California Building.