Uptown Art Fair organizers hope event revitalizes the area

Uptown Art Fair organizers hope event revitalizes the area

Uptown Art Fair organizers hope event revitalizes the area

Organizers of the Uptown Art Fair hope this weekend’s event will help boost ongoing efforts to revitalize the area.

The Uptown Art Fair is a huge tradition dating back to 1964 that draws more than 300,000 people to Uptown over the course of three days.

This year’s event will feature 320 professional artists from 29 states.

Many of them spent Thursday setting up for the event, which runs Friday through Sunday along Hennepin Avenue South and The Mall in Minneapolis.

“The event really brings people back to Uptown and brings it back to life, which is exactly what we need,” said Uptown Art Fair Director Jill Osiecki.

Osiecki is also the director of the Uptown Association, which supports business and economic development in the area.

“Uptown has been hurting. A lot of places have left. I think that’s for a variety of reasons, just from COVID, from civil unrest, from the landscape of retail changing in general,” Osiecki said. “But the life is coming back and we’re excited to see more of it. Even in just the last few weeks, we’ve seen at least a dozen new businesses open up. And the Uptown Art Fair really showcases what Uptown is becoming again.”

Osiecki said the Uptown Art Fair is the area’s biggest event of the year.

It was canceled in 2020 and 2021 due to the pandemic and made its return last year, to a slightly smaller crowd than usual, with about 200,000 people in attendance.

“This year, it seems like we’re going to be back to where we should be,” Osiecki said. “I think people have shied away from Minneapolis and Uptown for a couple few years now but I think they’re going to come this weekend  and they’re going to see all the great things that are happening.”

Photographer Meg McCormick is one of this year’s artists.

Unlike most, who drive in from other parts of Minnesota or other states, McCormick lives in Uptown.

She said the importance of this event to the Uptown area cannot be understated.

“We’ve been through a few rough years, right? It’ll be nice to see people happy and enjoying themselves,” McCormick said.

She believes large events, especially those focused on art, can help rebuild a community.

“It’s a sense of a place, you know? It’s a sense of place. It’s like, this is our neighborhood, this is where we live and we’re all in this together and we need to support each other,” McCormick said.

Organizers said there will be 24-hour security during the event.

The Uptown Art Fair runs Friday from 1-7 p.m., Saturday from 10 a.m.-7 p.m. and Sunday from 10 a.m.-5 p.m.

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