The Meander: Upper Minnesota Art Crawl kicked-off in Granite Falls this past weekend. The three day event was kicked off in Granite with a ‘Musical Chairs’ dinner. The Meander is an annual 39 stop art crawl that runs along the Minnesota River from Granite Falls to just north of Ortonville. It features a wide variety of local art and artists, including painters, photographers, sculptors, and jewelers, and attracts people came from all over the state to come appreciate and purchase local artwork.

This year, the Granite Falls area hosted seven different stops. Curt Soine exhibited handcarved woodcarvings, Melanie Gabbert-Gatchell displayed her rural life photography, Gene Stukel showed-off his landscape photography, and Bradley D. Hall exhibited watercolors and hand-painted block prints. Just outside of downtown Granite Falls, Dale and Jo Pederson presented native willow furniture, Claire Swanson featured her reed baskets, and Dale Streblow displayed his landscape paintings, block prints, and farmhouse furniture.

For these local artists, the Meander is an important time not only to sell their work, but to meet other artists and share their craft with their community. “Local artists help celebrate the beauty of the surrounding countryside,” said Bradley Hall. “Many people outside this area come to visit Meander for the first time, and are surprised about how beautiful this region is.” Woodcarver Curt Soine agrees, explaining that “the Meander has really helped get the word out” about local art.

Attendees also got to visit the studios used by artists to create their crafts, which Hall says “is a rare opportunity to see how the work is created.” The Meander attracts both the avid enthusiast and the artistic newcomer. Event organizers hope that the Meander inspires more people to become interested in the local art scene.

The Meander also serves as an important economic stimulus for the region. Hall explains that “the Meander and I have both grown in the past 14 years since it’s inception. We do about a dozen art fairs, and this is by far our best show.”