Many people who attend Art-A-Whirl—the Northeast Minneapolis Arts District's annual art orgy, May 18 to 20—never get beyond the Northrup King Building, which is understandable. The NKB houses more than 200 artists and is often thought of as ground zero for Art-A-Whirl. But there are several other buildings on the Art-A-Whirl circuit that house hard-working artists and their studios.
Casket Arts Building
Casket Arts is really three buildings—the main building, the Carriage House, and the Factory—and houses about 150 artists working in all kinds of mediums. Dozens of painters, sculptors, and photographers call the Casket Arts Community home. You'll also find custom furniture makers, jewelry artists, a Zen center, and at least one masseuse. 681 17th Ave. NE, Minnepolis
A bit off the beaten Art-A-Whirl track, the California Building is home to many fine painters and artists—close to 80 of them working in 25-plus studios. Of particular interest is the Potek Glass gallery, where some of the city's most beautiful kiln-fired glass jewelry, tiles, and custom lighting sconces are made. 2205 NE California St., Minneapolis
Grain Belt Studios and Keg House Arts Building
Located across the street from each other, at the end of 13th Avenue Northeast near the Mississippi River, these two buildings are locked up tight most of the time. So go, snoop, and discover--you'll feel like you're in on one of the Twin Cities' greatest arts secrets. 77 13th Ave. NE and 79 13th Ave. NE, Minneapolis
Home to one of the most interesting and adventurous galleries in town, Altered Esthetics, the Q.arma Building also houses more than a dozen other artists. Fine arts, painting, and ceramics are what you'll find here. 1224 NE Quincy St., Minneapolis
The Thorp Building is known as the birthplace of Art-A-Whirl--because it is. Located across the rail yard from the Northrup King Building, it still houses an impressively eclectic assortment of studios and workspaces. Also, be sure to check out Costume the Cities, one of the most impressive collections of rental vintage clothing in town. 1620 Central Ave. NE, Minneapolis