Artist Couple Talks Uptown Art Fair’s Origins
MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — You’ll find one-of-a-kind pieces of art at this weekend’s Uptown Art Fair. Just like each work, the artists have their own stories.
The annual art show at the intersection of Lake Street and Hennepin Avenue in Minneapolis has more than 350 artists from 36 states and three countries abroad.
Along with all of the baskets, paintings and yard decorations, you’ll find some old favorites.
“This is my thirty-eighth year in a row,” Duke Klassen said. “And her thirty-ninth, but she’s probably done about 45 so far.”
The she Klassen is referring to is his wife, artist LaDes Glanzer. She’s one of the original artists in the first-ever Uptown Art Fair 49 years ago.
“It was easy to get in, if you told them you were an artist — you were an artist,” Klassen said. “Back then, you could just send them a check and you could get in. The show was all low then, nobody had a tent and everyone was set up on blankets and things like that.”
Throughout the years, the number of vendors shrank, and the quality of art increased, giving the art show the national reputation it has today.
Much like the show itself, the couple’s artwork also evolved. LaDes started by selling oil paintings, but she’s also done fiber-work and has most recently learned the art of silversmithing.
“It’s a very loyal crowd,” he said. “Loyal to the point where you see their grandchildren coming, too.”
The couple travels the country, selling their jewelry in Texas, Florida and Colorado.
“It’s a very satisfying life, but you’ve got to be lucky to be able to stay in it,” he said.
Still, as a traveling artist, there’s no seniority or job security.
“And there’s no retirement program either. We figure you work till you’re 80 and then if you need the money, you keep going,” he said.
There’s not just art to check out at the fair. There’s a new beer garden at Old Chicago where you can check out live performances on the hour.
And a Culinary Arts competition that pairs up local chefs and artists to create food-based art. You’ll find that outside “The Kitchen Window” near Lake and Hennepin.
If you bike to the art fair, you can park your bike at the complimentary Nice Ride MN bike station on Humboldt Avenue hear the Midtown Greenway trail. Metro Transit is also offering free bus rides to and from the art fair. To take advantage of that, you’ll need to get a voucher from this website.