Art enthusiasts in the area will have the opportunity to travel around Carver County this weekend to visit artists in their homes and studios, see how and where they work, and purchase unique artwork from more than 30 of the county’s artists.
All this will be part of the first ever Edge of the Big Woods Art Wander, a self-guided tour that features an eclectic mix of painting, weaving, jewelry, pottery, woodworking, culinary, invention and more. The 30 different artists will be concentrated at 17 studios, which will be open from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 28, and from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Sunday, Sept. 29.
“There’s never been anything like this in Carver County,” said Pam Braunwarth, a Waconia artist who is the director of this year’s Art Wander. “In Carver County, we don’t have a lot of galleries or shops or places where people can buy art.”
Braunwarth also stressed, however, that this event is not simply about the opportunity to purchase art. Rather, what makes an art wander unique is that visitors will get to see artists in their own environments, learn about their creative processes and see how they produce their end results. In essence, visitors will get to see what makes each artist tick.
“We’ve found people really like to get to know and meet the artists so they can make a connection between them and the art they’re buying,” Braunwarth said. “If they know what is involved in it, there’s often more meaning. It just gives them a chance to see where people make their art and where they live, and everything an artist’s lifestyle encompasses.”
Art wanders — or art crawls as they are more commonly called — are not a new concept. They’re held throughout the state and the country, and the idea to hold one in Carver County came about when Waconia High School teacher Clark Machtemes visited a popular art crawl in western Minnesota. He suggested the idea to Braunwarth, who quickly began to gauge the interest of other artists in the area.
The idea drew strong support, and a large group of artists began the planning process in earnest more than a year ago. While art crawls are common, Watertown-area artist Nancy Anderson said this one is unique in that it was entirely organized by the artists themselves, not a third-party agency or organization.
However, the event is funded in part by appropriations from the Minnesota State Legislature with money from the state’s general fund, and its arts and cultural heritage fund. Additional major sponsorships include Arts Consortium of Carver County, Waconia Lions, Waconia West Carver Rotary, HealthSource of Waconia and Melchert Hubert Sjodin PLLP, in Waconia.
The 17 studios that are part of the tour are located mainly in Western Carver County, with 10 in Waconia, two in Mayer, one in Watertown, and one in Cologne. There are also two studios in Chaska and one in Victoria. Participants will be encouraged to visit every studio because those who receive the signature of an artist at each location will be entered into a drawing to win art donated by one of the 30 artists.
For more information, including a map of participating studios, visit www.artwander.com.