From the category archives:

Minneapolis – St Paul Art and Culture

If you are a lover of art and looking for something to do next weekend, then make sure to check out three great art festivals happening in Minneapolis.

  • In downtown Minneapolis, the Loring Park Art Festival is on August 6 & 7th featuring over 140 artists. When your done, feel free to stroll across to the Minneapolis Sculpture Garden or visit the Walker Art Center.
  • The 20th annual Powerhorn Art Fair is also August 6 & 7th with over 180 artists showing their talent.
  • Not too far away is the Uptown Art Fair near Lake Calhoun. This was is much larger, with over 350 artists, and runs August 5-7th. Many of my clients love this fair having art pieces hanging in their homes purchased from local artists.

Getting to all three, if you can make it that long, doesn’t have to be difficult. Metro Transit is offering a free weekend ArtPass on LRT and bus lines, so you can park and ride all day long!


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Minneapolis Sculpture Garden Conservatory Fish

"Standing Glass Fish", Frank Gehry, 1986

One of my favorite places to visit in Minneapolis is the Minneapolis Sculpture Garden located just off downtown by Loring Park. I always visit the big fish in the conservatory as he is just really cool to look at. For this image I used HRD photography to catch the full range of light.


Minneapolis Institute of Arts

A few months ago a fellow photographer and I were out shooting night shots in Minneapolis. We stopped by the Minneapolis Institute of Arts as their front facade is lit up with colored lights at night.

Founded in 1883 as the Minneapolis Society of Fine Arts, this beautiful Neoclassical building was built in 1915 by the New York architecture firm McKim, Mead, and White. Over the years it has been expanded to meet new demands and art collections.


To continue with my series on Historic Architecture in Minneapolis and St Paul, some of the most beautiful examples of fine craftsmanship can be found in Italianate homes.


Built between 1840 – 1885

The Italianate style is reported to have begun in England as part of the Picturesque movement. Over the years, Italian Villas, as some call them, went from farmhouse informal to formal grandeur. Obviously, as the name infers, Italian architecture from ancient Rome led a helping hand to the popularization of key architectural details.

There are many details in the design of Italianate that make it easily identifiable. One of the easiest is the heavy, large brackets that hang under the eaves. They are usually ornate and arranged singly or in pairs. Every home was built with at least two stories, and the style is predominately found in the Midwest and some in the Northeast.

Another obvious feature is the square copula that sits atop the home. The roofs are usually low pitched. Unfortunately, copulas tend to be neglected and they begin to leak, so most Italianate homes no longer sport this eye catching feature. The cupola shown below is the only remaining one in Stillwater, which has numerous examples of the style.

The decline of the style began with the panic of 1873, and once consumer confidence returned, new styles like the Queen Anne Victorian were becoming popular.

I have put together a slide show of historic homes in Minneapolis, Saint Paul, Stillwater, Red Wing, and Lansing, Iowa, that are prime examples of Italianate architecture. Two details you will see throughout are the arched windows and the window hoods above each window.

View the first post in this series on Second Empire architectural design.


I don’t know any other city that has a national landmark of a big spoon with a cherry on top. But the sculpture has become the most photographed item in Minneapolis. If you look on almost every website and publication about Minneapolis, the photo of the spoon and cherry will be there. Located in the Minneapolis Sculpture Garden, downtown is just within site and makes a great backdrop for tourists.


This summer is the summer of Scandinavian in Minneapolis. What better place to experience the culture than at the Minneapolis Institute of Arts.

June 24 – September 2, MIA will be the only American venue to host the exhibit A Mirror of Nature : Nordic Landscape Painting 1840-1910. According to the Institute, “This exhibition explores Nordic attitudes to nature and the significance which landscape has had, and continues to have, in Nordic culture and thinking.”

Other Nordic Events in the Twin Cities include:

  • Mamma Mia!
    Orpheum Theater/Hennepin Theatre Trust
    June 5 – 16, 2007
  • Saint Paul Summer Song Festival presenting music of Norwegian composer Edvard Grieg
    The Schubert Club
    June 6 – 17, 2007
  • Flashback: Norwegian Landscapes in Retrospect
    Bell Museum of Natural History
    June 9 – August 12
  • Midsommer! Outdoor celebration
    American Swedish Institute
    June 16, 2007

For a complete list of events celebrating the Nordic culture visit the calendar.