Before you read, please note that this is my opinion, and I am never impressed by events like these usually. Perhaps traveling so much has spoiled my "fair-going" senses.
It is a Sunday in Minneapolis, the weather is amazing and the Stone Arch Bridge Festival is up and running at the base of the Mississippi River.
As a CGT destination, I would NOT recommend the Stone Arch Festival unless you are there for some sun, free live music and food. If you do end up going, allow 1-2 hours and bring cash, water and a bike.
My main dislike about the fair is that the art is not up to par, nor does it represent the talented undercurrent that keeps the Minneapolis art scene afloat and raw. With the exception of a few artists, whom I will share later on, the fair was boring. Perhaps (a Nancy Drew moment warning) one reason for the diluted talent pool is a rule or guideline that detracts artists from participating? OR is the Art-A-Whirl crowd tired and this is NOT their scene? Or MAYBE the crowd that comes here to purchase items is in a different marketing pool than people like myself, which is the story of my life. That being said I do not think that a CGT fan will enjoy this experience.
Why bad art?
The art and other booths are very "user friendly" and uninspired (again, this is probably better for marketing to an entire city). Booths host reoccurring guest artists that you see recirculating at the usual Minnesota festivals: Uptown Art Fair, the Minnesota Renaissance Festival, MN State Fair etc. Examples of some art are: pottery, silversmiths, junkyard garden animals, uninspired Photoshop filtered images printed on canvas (the ones that you could stick in a condo for staging) and weird glass art.
What I Do Love:
It may sound like community festivals/events aren't my thing, but like everyone, there are particular events that I've loved so much that they have raised my expectations of others THAT MUCH HIGHER. Here are a few I LOVE: May Day Parade, Barebones Puppet Theater during Halloween season, Art-A-Whirl, Powderhorn Art Fair, watching the AMAZING 4th of July fireworks from the Stone Arch Bridge, Northern Spark (which I like for the most part), and the Minnesota State Fair. Yes, I said it: I love the State Fair. Its kid art and random baked goods, HILARIOUS.
My CGT Finds:
There were some gems that I found appealing, along with some interesting people and some beautiful body art. This girl said her art was done by SamIAm Dunn at Holy Mackerel Studios:
I saw some lovely screen prints by musician and printmaker/illustrator etc. Lucy Michelle, who I saw playing in the band Field Trip at Northern Spark. I bought a poster that had fun classic mystical characters (although she drew a unicorn...and as we all know, they exist, same goes for the headless horseman...totally real).
For a second I thought I hit the jackpot and saw a Lynch reference, but nope. They actually live on lost highway street...but look at the similarities here...jk
I was in love with this silversmith, Thomas J. White Arts, who makes handcrafted metal work. I was digging the girl behind the counter with the split tongue and the necklace piece that was called "Head on a Platter".
Finally on our way out, we got to see these:
Artist above: Gipson Shoemaker, a local mixed media artist, painting I forgot to document.
As a whole, it was sunny, free and I got a poster and some amazing jewelry while absorbing my favorite river.