Arts MN: Ukuleles, Goldsmiths, and the Saint Paul Art Crawl

Spending last week on St. Simons’ Island, Georgia definitely readjusted my internal temperature index. Thus, upon returning on Sunday to Minnesota and finding spring-like temperatures, I’ve decided to focus this week on all things warm. The warm sounds of a Hawaiian tune and its ability to evoke thoughts of palm trees swaying in the breeze… The heat of a pottery kiln or a metal smith’s flame… The warming effect of a well-conceived craft beer… These are all things I cling to as I wait for spring to properly reveal itself at last.

Hula Peppers

The Happy Gnome, St. Paul, MN

April 27, 2:00–5:00pm


This week’s Sunday Music Series offering at The Happy Gnome will feature The Hula Peppers and their masterful repertoire of 1920’s, 1930’s and Hawaiian music. If the latest cold spell has left you longing for a tropical vacation, The Hula Peppers’ renditions of Lovely Hula Hands or Waikiki Melody are sure to transport you to the Big Island, albeit for a mere fraction of the cost. In addition, the band (consisting of  Dan  Newton on accordion, Gary Powell on Hawaiian guitar, Dave Furniss on resonator guitar, and Corey Mohan on ukuleles and musical saw), will welcome the lovely “chanteuse” Lauren Asheim as a guest soloist. The event will take place in The Firehouse Room (upstairs) at the Happy Gnome. There is no cover and all Minnesota drafts will be sold for $4!

Beer bonus: Three words. The. Happy. Gnome.

Society of North American Goldsmiths (SNAG) Conference

Hilton Minneapolis, 1001 Marquette Avenue South, Minneapolis, MN

April 23–26

SNAGThis April marks the first time since its inaugural St. Paul conference in 1970 that the Society of North American Goldsmiths’ annual get-together has taken place in the Twin Cities, and based on the schedule of events, local conference organizers have gone all out. New for the 2014 conference, titled From Grains to Gold, is the presence of “Face to Face” talks­— informal conversations with plenary speakers concerning issues relevant to the craft. Other highlights include a silent auction, artist demonstrations, a studio crawl, the trunk show, and an amazing end-of-conference dance party and reception. Tickets can no longer be purchased online, but are available for purchase at the conference itself. Members receive discounted entry.

Beer bonus: While it probably wasn’t intended to draw a direct connection to beer, the conference’s title, From Grains to Gold, does evoke thoughts of malty beverages. Thus, celebrate your favorite “liquid grain” this weekend in whichever context you see fit.

Saint Paul Art Crawl

Various locations throughout St. Paul, MN

April 25–27, Friday, 6:00–10:00pm; Saturday, 12:00–8:00pm; Sunday, 12:00–5:00pm

Saint Paul Art Crawl 2014

Since 1977, the Saint Paul Art Collective has hosted the Saint Paul Art Crawl as a means of “creating and fostering important, interdependent relationships between the arts community and the city itself.” What began as a gathering of a mere handful of artists from Saint Paul’s Lowertown district has now expanded to an event that includes more than 300 participating artists from Downtown, Lowertown, University Avenue, Grand Avenue, as well as the Eastside and Westside neighborhoods, and that attracts more than 20,000 visitors each year. The event is free and open to the public. Click here to view a list of this year’s Saint Paul Art Crawl’s participating artists and locations or to find out more about the weekend’s special events. Temperatures are expected to be in the mid to upper 50’s this weekend with partly cloudy conditions, so although the weather itself won’t be emanating warmth, the act of “crawling” from location to location should.

Beer bonus: Crawl on over to Great Waters Brewing Company,  Flat Earth Brewing Company, or Summit Brewing Company, which are all located near Saint Paul Art Crawl featured locations and offer weekend hours.

Playing with Fire

Chicago Avenue Fire Arts Center, 3749 Chicago Avenue, Minneapolis, MN

April 24, 5:00–9:00pm (Opening Reception)

Playing with Fire

Since 2009, Chicago Avenue Fire Arts Center has been known chiefly for its intelligent exhibitions and enlightening classes that feature local ceramicists, blacksmiths, jewelers, and glassblowers. This week, however, CAFAC will welcome both national and international artists to their space for an exhibition titled Playing with Fire. Curated by Heather Doyle and Carol Warner, and reflecting CAFAC’s mission to inspire “hands, hearts, and minds through art forms produced by heat, spark, or flame”, Playing with Fire will include jewelry artists Heinz Brummel (Minneapolis, MN), Heejin Hwang (Chicago, IL), and Barbara Minor (Baton Rouge, LA), knife smiths Rick Dunkerley (Lincoln, MT) and Kevin O’Dwyer (Tullamore Co, Offaly, Ireland), ceramicists Darlys Ewoldt (Chicago, IL) and Carol Warner (Minneapolis, MN), as well as silver smith Susan Hunt (Menomonie, WI) who specializes in sterling tableware and candelabras. While Playing with Fire will run through May 6, the opening reception will take place on April 24 from 5:00–9:00pm in conjunction with the 2014 SNAG conference. The opening reception is free and will feature artist demonstrations. Come let the heat inspire you, or in the very least, let it warm you.

Beer bonus: CAFAC is located a mere mile away from Blackbird, a cozy cafe with a well-curated list of craft beers and imports. Stop over before or after for a bite and pint.

Learn to Fire a Gas Kiln!

April 22, 9:30am–12:30pm

Edina Art Center, 4701 W 64th St, Edina, MN


Are you a budding ceramicist? Have you become proficient in pottery, but still rely on your friends to fire pieces for you? If so, consider enrolling in the Edina Art Center’s Let’s Fire a Gas Kiln Together course, which is new for 2014. Each class period will include a firing-related topic (such as loading, firing, unloading, and maintaining the gas updraft kiln), as well as time for making or glazing pots with the day’s firing lessons in mind. The classes have limited space, so it is best to call ahead (952-903-5780) to determine the likelihood of participating. As always, Edina Art Center members receive discounted tuition, but member registration is easy and the price of an 8-week course averages $204 for non-members ($184 for members). While there, you should also consider checking out the EAC’s gallery, or inquiring about when and how you can access the center’s pottery and mixed media studios.

Beer bonus: Red Cow, which is located less than 3 miles from the Edina Art Center, will host a Deschutes Tap Invasion on April 22 starting at 3:00pm. The invasion will feature a dozen Deschutes’ beers, including Black Butte Porter (XXII, XXIV, and XXV), Abyss, Pinedrops IPA, and Fresh Squeezed. Although temperatures are only scheduled to be in the upper 50’s this Tuesday, the higher ABV beers from Deschutes and Red Cow’s warm atmosphere will certainly help to keep things toasty whether you’re seated inside or on the patio.



  1. Hey, don’t forget about the beer-themed art show at the brand new Tin Whiskers tap room! Get a sneak peek ahead of their May opening. The show is Saturday, April 26th from 2 – 5 pm.

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