Combine a scenic fall drive through northwest Minnesota with a weekend-long open studio event, and you’re bound to find breathtaking landscapes and creative wares. The Park Rapids area features an art studio tour in September, and artists in Bemidji open their doors in October.
Art Leap-Park Rapids Lakes Area
In late September—as fall colors begin to pop—the Park Rapids Lakes Area hosts Art Leap. This weekend features open artists’ studios, other cultural sites, workshops and live music. The event is a great chance to meet artists in person, see how and where they work, and shop for one-of-a-kind paintings, sculpture, woodcuts, pottery, stoneware, textiles, jewelry and more.
Studios are open from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. both days of the event.Other Art Leap sites include the Nemeth Art Center, Forestedge Winery and Gallery, and the Mississippi Headwaters Center at Itasca State Park.
Visitors can download a map at prlaac.org or pick one up at the Park Rapids Lakes Area Chamber of Commerce and explore at their own pace. A handicapped-accessible bus tour is available.
First City of Arts Studio Cruise-Bemidji Area
The First City of Arts Studio Cruise, a self-guided tour in late October, features 25 Bemidji-area artisans in a 40-mile radius. Find custom wood furniture, jewelry, painting, wearable textile art, Norwegian folk art, photography, mosaics and more. Several artists will present demonstrations to share their creative process with visitors.
Organizers have mapped out three separate tours. One travels from west and north from Bemidji, passing through the Mississippi Headwaters State Forest. A shorter tour loops around numerous lakes, including Lake Bemidji. A third tour explores the countryside south of Bemidji and studios nestled in the woods. Studio Cruise road signs are posted to help you find your way along any or all of the routes, and maps are available at visitbemidji.com.
Art cruisers are also encouraged to check out the Bemidji Art Walk, a downtown walking tour featuring sculptures and murals, as well as local galleries and retail shops that carry fine art and handmade goods. All Art Leap and Studio Cruise events are free and open to the public.