Art and Ambience

art-and-ambienceTouring a Trio of Area Art Fairs



On Saturday, July 20, the charming community of Stockholm, Wis., (located less than an hour from Rochester) will celebrate its 40th Annual Art Fair amongst the tranquil breezes of Lake Pepin.

“The fair has come a ways since the days of selling chickens and giving away kittens,” says its coordinator Linda Day, referring to the first art fair
held by a group of artists new to Stockholm who wanted to introduce themselves and their art.

Still emanating that hippie sort of vibe, this year’s event will include 107 artists from five states displaying a wide variety of work—paintings, jewelry, sculpture, photography, clay, glass, fiber, leather and more. Area musicians will also perform original songs throughout the day.

Not to be outdone by the fine arts, culinary masters from the region will offer gastronomic experiences ranging from wood-fired pizza to organic beef and chicken teriyaki to homemade lefse and maple
cotton candy.

“Cooking is another form of art; our canvas is just different,” says Jennifer Daggett-Peterson, owner of The Village Inn Cafe and Exceptional Bite Catering in Durand, Wis., who will be tempting fair goers with unique wraps like Thai chicken and roasted ratatouille with hummus.

So go to Stockholm hungry and soak in the art and serenity of this one-of-a-kind fair. For more information, visit


Set in Minneapolis’ vibrant Uptown district, this bustling three-day show, starting August 2, spotlights the work of more than 350 artists from the United States and abroad in 12 different media. Drawing hundreds of thousands of people each year, the Uptown Art Fair is Minnesota’s second-largest public extravaganza (after the state fair).

“What we strive to create is an experience,” says Maude Lovelle, executive director of the Uptown Association. “Uptown is urban, eclectic and unique, and visitors to the fair experience a community showing itself off.”

In addition to ample art to peruse, the fair offers non-stop, diverse entertainment ranging from reggae music, drum ensembles and gospel to salsa, belly dancers and a magician. The Family Imagination Station has art activities for all (including the artistically challenged) and the Kitchen Window Culinary Arts Competition pairs Twin Cities chefs with Twin Cities artists. This popular attraction gives opposing teams the same ingredients and a half-hour to prepare a scrumptious dish and an objet d’art. Different teams vie every other hour to reach the finals on Sunday afternoon.

Tasty treats for the palate are as abundant and assorted as the art work. At the fair’s food court, 22 vendors serve smoothies, vegetarian and ethnic cuisine as well as standard fair staples. The parking lot of Old Chicago restaurant is transformed into an outdoor wine garden oasis.

If you prefer to indulge in a leisurely sit-down meal after a busy day at the fair, check out one of Uptown’s 45 restaurants, including Stella’s Fish Café (with its casual contemporary seafood menu and spectacular rooftop deck) and Lucia’s Restaurant (an Uptown staple for 28 years whose menu changes weekly featuring seasonal specialties and superb wine). For directions, menus and hours visit and For more information about the fair visit


Looking for something closer to home? Be a tourist in your own town at Rochester’s ARTigras on August 17. Turning five this summer, it’s growing like a 5-year-old should.

The creative brain child of the Rochester Arts Council, ARTigras has expanded to include artists from an even wider geographical area and is expected to exceed the 100–125 booths of years past. All forms of artistic media are represented and are handmade and one-of-a-kind, says Bari Amadio, executive director of the Rochester Arts Council.

Like its four predecessors, ARTigras V has three components: ARTiVillage, ARTiStage and ARTiKids. Visitors stroll among the white tents of ARTiVillage and study displayed artwork while musicians and dancers perform throughout the day on ARTiStage. Past performers have included a blues singer, a string quartet, jazz and brass groups, Middle Eastern dancers and more.

Family-oriented, relaxed fun, ARTigras not only welcomes kids but offers them their own space to create and explore. At ARTiKids, youngsters can produce designs and see them steamrolled into prints by a real steamroller, have their faces painted by master painters or join in a safe, supervised tree climbing adventure.

Grab a bite to eat at this all-day event at one of the many ARTigras vendors whose menus feature brats, burgers, nachos, pizza, Italian sausage in pitas, Cold Stone Creamery ice cream, gyros, wine and beer. For more information visit