Edina’s 50th Street & France Avenue may be well known for its many lifestyle and luxury boutiques, but once per year, it transforms into a different kind of shopping destination: the Edina Art Fair.
There’s a reason the festival attracts so many visitors. Sure, it’s branded as one of the best in the United States, and it’s even ranked number one in Minnesota. But believe it or not, this event is far more than flashy statistics and impressive numbers.
This year’s outdoor festival takes a societal stand with its theme “Empowering Artistic Females,” and it’s only fitting that nearly 70 artists are female business owners.
This includes Australia-native Kristi Abbott, who snagged the 2018 Best of Show win. In 2019, she’s back and better than ever with more high-end collage art.
“The Edina Art Fair was the very first outdoor art fair I ever did,” Abbott says. “[Winning] was, and still is, such a great honor, especially because this fair holds such great memories and sentiments for me.”
Her collages, created out of 200 to 4,000 pieces of hand-cut paper glued up to 15 layers deep, are packed with color, pattern, and texture, and often have 15 to 150 images and symbolic elements hidden within. You can find her at booth 148 on France Avenue.
“I think people can expect to see the same style of work they’ve come to expect from me,” Abbott says about the collages she’ll feature at the fair, “but even more complex; tied to today’s topics and symbols and our pop culture.”
Fine art like Abbott’s might be the focal point of the weekend, but the Edina Art Fair has even more to offer visitors, from music and food to kid-friendly activities.
So, to add a slightly different kind of art to your weekend experience, make your way to the Lunds & Byerly’s parking lot off West 50th Street. Tune in to musical sensations Dustin Lee (Friday, 5-6 p.m.), Rubber Soul: The Tribute (Saturday, 7-10 p.m.), or Six Still Standing (Sunday, 10:30-11:30 a.m.) for sun-up to sun-down live entertainment.
And of course, there are the food courts. With one in the Lunds & Byerly’s lot, the other between Drew and Chowen avenues, and more selections (like kettle corn and butter toffee peanuts) throughout the fairgrounds, you won’t be going hungry. For the 21-plus crowd, three beer and wine gardens are stationed around the festival, complete with selections from Indeed Brewing and Freehouse.
Sure, some aspects of the festival are targeted toward the adult population, but overall, the event is overwhelmingly family-friendly. At the Kids’ Zone, located in the U.S. Bank parking lot off 50th Street, your kids can paint a watercolor masterpiece for the fridge, learn some self-defense skills, or take on the bouncy house.
And as times change, the festival does, too. Abbott is still around, and so are dozens of other artists, but new to 2019 are a water refill station, art raffles, new merchandise (like water bottles, t-shirts, and tote bags), and an Artist People’s Choice Award, where visitors can vote on their favorites.
Though these are the only changes made within the last 365 days, far more has come and gone during the fair’s 53-year legacy. What started as a few crafters on the corner has evolved into a three-day event that has grown to welcome 250,000-300,000 visitors and more than 280 artists in 12 artistic disciplines (like ceramics, photography, mixed media, jewelry, and more). The fair takes place Friday and Saturday from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Download the 2019 Guidebook here.