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Virtual Art Tour: Minneapolis - Saint Paul

Updated: Nov 17, 2022

Visit a new art community without leaving home in this Twin Cities online art tour! Thanks to online museum art collections and gallery art databases, as well as social media, public art maps and other resources, it is easier than ever to have a #virtualartadventure in a new city.

The Twin Cities are home to a strong community arts culture, with artist's studios, artist-run galleries and nonprofit spaces, as well as commercial galleries and interesting and diverse art museums in Minneapolis-Saint Paul.

Museums and College Galleries:

sculpture of spoon and cherry in water against trees
"Spoonbridge and Cherry," by Claes Oldenburg and Coosje van Bruggen. Photo by Susan Sharpless Smith: Licensed under CC.

The Walker Art Center: The Walker is a multi-disciplinary art center that includes galleries, cinema, a design studio and the Minneapolis Sculpture Garden. The Walker began more than 125 years ago, when Thomas Barlow (T.B.) Walker built a room onto his house, mounted his favorite paintings on the walls, and opened his door to everyone who wanted to come in. These inclusive and community-minded beginnings are still evident today, as the Walker remains a eclectic, diverse and welcoming. Its collection includes work by contemporary artists like Kara Walker, Naim June Pak and Katharina Fritsch, and one of its most recognizable pieces is "Spoonbridge and Cherry," by Claes Oldenburg and Coosje van Bruggen. The Walker Online highlights interesting digital content like The Walker Reader magazine, Artists in their Own Words, and Garden Stories. Its permanent collection is online, and we especially enjoyed seeing and learning about work like Robert The's "Reader's Digest (cake book)", "Qu'on se le dise," by Ben Vautier and Julie Buffalohead's "The Garden," where you'll see some familiar imagery reused in unexpected ways.

The Museum of Russian Art: According to its Web site, The Museum of Russian Art (TMORA) is North America’s only museum devoted to exploring the art and culture of Muscovite Russia, the Russian Empire, the Soviet Union, its former republics, and post-Soviet Russia. Visitors will find paintings, sculptures, textiles and decorative arts exhibitions and programming, as well as cultural initiatives, like this one centered on owls. Its online exhibitions cover the Silk Road, Postage Stamps, and Iconography, and we enjoyed learning about Soviet Posters through the museum's archive.

Weisman Art Museum, University of Minnesota - Twin Cities: With its stand-out deconstructivist architectural style, the Weisman Art Museum is something special to look at even before you walk through its doors. A self-described "teaching museum" centered on art education, it considers itself a place for creativity, reflection and play. The museum's at-home art activities include Artful Writing, collection highlights and an in-depth look at The Big River Continuum – DETOUR project.

Law Warschaw Gallery - Macalester College: Law Warschaw Gallery presents solo exhibitions from local, national, and international artists, who are invited to show their work.

Augsburg University Art Galleries: Comprised of three galleries: Gage Gallery, Christenson Gallery and Gallery 720, these spaces represent artists at all stages of their careers, working in all mediums.

Minnesota Museum of American Art: The M's mission is to "explore expansively American identities through art, recognizing that the lived experiences and creativity of many artists, cultures, and communities have been historically, and presently are, underrepresented by museums." Currently, it hosts The M @ Home, a comprehensive online program that includes a close look at "Gordon Parks: A Homecoming," coloring pages by artist Jamel Shabazz and other all-ages Art Activities, and archives "deep dives" in The Scrapbook. You can also explore some of its online collection and see work by artists like Joan Mitchell, George Morrison and Frederick D. Jones.

Minneapolis Institute of Art: Make a virtual visit through this large museum's online exhibitions and collection, and discover art from artists like Pierre Daura, Ishimoto Yasuhiro and Elizabeth Murray. It also incorporates 3D models, informational podcasts, verbal descriptions and multimedia "Art Stories" to better help you explore the museum from home.

Art Galleries and Artist Highlights :

Unlike museums, gallery exhibitions change fairly often and the art is for sale. If you see a piece you want to purchase from a Minneapolis gallery or its associated artists, contact the gallery for current eCommerce purchase and shipping policies.

Weinstein Hammons Gallery: Contemporary photography gallery representing artists like Gordon Parks, Robert Mapplethorpe, and Cass Bird.

Form + Content Gallery: This artist-run collective has a mission to link personal expression to broader social contexts. Its represented and member artists include Sandra Menefee Taylor, Mike Marks, Marty Nash, and book artist Vesna Kittelson.

Burnet Fine Art + Advisory: Contemporary art gallery and advisory representing world-renowned artists like Ai WeiWei, Caroline Kent and Tom Otterness. Its Web site also includes an archive of current and past catalogues to virtually flip through!

Groveland Gallery: Specializes in work by Minnesota and regional artists, including Wendell Arneson, Stella Ebner, Paula Schuette Kraemer and Tim Tozer.

Kolman & Pryor Gallery: Kolman & Pryor hosts its spring exhibition online, showing artists like Jil Evans, Julie Snidle and Betsy Ruth Byers.

Art Spaces and Highlights:

These gallery/studio/residency hybrids support artists with resources, visibility and opportunities to connect with future collectors. Many of them have work for purchase. Please contact the artist or art space directly for their latest eCommerce purchase and shipping policies.

All My Relations Gallery: This gallery centers on contemporary Native American artists. Its current exhibition is "Rights of the Child" by Moira Villiard. Previous shows included The Horse Nation of the OČHÉTHI ŠAKÓWIŊ, selections from The Hopeman Family Collection and Frank Big Bear, an acclaimed Ojibwe artist.

CO Exhibitions: CO Exhibitions presents thematic multimedia exhibitions in collaboration with artists, designers, and curators in a modular space that includes more than 2000 square feet, mobile walls, and suspendible ceilings, as well as community resources like screen print facilities, fabrication tools and artist residencies. Exhibitions have included "Strange Girls Never Die," with pieces by Monica Canilao, Luke Hillestad and Martzia Thometz.

Midway Contemporary Art: This nonprofit, non-collecting space presents temporary exhibitions, maintains a public research library and presents regular public programs. Gallery exhibitions have included work by Yutaka Matsuzawa, Jagdeep Reina, and Yui Yaegashi.

Minnesota Center for Book Arts: The "largest and most comprehensive center of its kind," MCBA supports the art of books through paper-making, letterpress printing and bookbinding as well as art and communication design. It has exhibited work around themes like Human Trafficking and Quilts, and hosts an interesting range of online programming that includes mini tunnel books, petal fold books and pop-out cards. Its Winter Book series is a highly-collectable collaborative project, a "handmade, limited edition artist’s book featuring poetry or prose by a Minnesota author or editor."

Highpoint Center for Printmaking: Highpoint is a multi-faceted nonprofit that includes a gallery, publications and a wide variety of programming centered on the printmaking arts, as well as a cooperative for artists to create and show their work. Its current Virtual Exhibition, "ACCESS/PRINT & LOOK/SEE," shows work by teen artists. As you explore Highpoint's online offerings, be sure and check out its Printmaking at Home lessons, and learn more about the latest Highpoint Editions release, "Take Care of Them," by Dyani White Hawk.

California Building: This long-serving studio building has more than 80 tenant-artists, including Alyssa Baggus, Eyenga Bokoma's Future Tense Gallery, and printmaker Faye Passow.

Soo Visual Arts Center: SooVAC exhibits an average of 150 artists a year, with community programming that includes senior arts programming, workshops, artists talks, events and collaborative partnerships. It currently hosts a series of "virtual connections," with studio visits, online workshops and more. It's also home of the MN Art Mart, a quick and easy way to purchase art directly from artists, with 100 percent of sales benefiting them directly.

Rosalux Gallery: Minnesota's "longest running collective art gallery" showcases work by 24 Minnesota contemporary visual artists, including Shawn McNulty, John Gaunt and Hend Al-Mansour.

Minneapolis Art Lending Library: This interesting community resource gives Twin Cities residents the opportunity to borrow original art for three months. Its comprehensive collection, which heavily features local and regional artists, includes work by Camille Erickson, Heather Hart and Austin Stiegemeier.

Public Art:

Forecast Public Art: Forecast Public Art in Minneapolis is one of the country’s first nonprofit organizations dedicated to advancing the field of public art. Its projects include the Sheridan Arts Spanish Dual Immersion School, and its Web site is a wealth of information for online learning about public arts programming.

Public Art Saint Paul: Public Art Saint Paul enhances the city and raises artist visibility by placing artists in leading roles to "shape public spaces, improve city systems, and deepen civic engagement." The nonprofit has activated public art installations like "Comforting Climate," the Western Sculpture Park and "Housetrees." Spend some time in its searchable archive database to learn more, and check out its online store for books and at-home project kits.

Creative Shopping:

These independent Twin Cities shopping options include art, decor, prints and other creative gifts. Contact them directly for current eCommerce and shipping policies.

Thought Starters and Discussion Points:

What did you enjoy learning about art and creative spaces in Minneapolis-Saint Paul? What surprised you?

Spend some time learning about the Minnesota Center for Book Arts. Do you have a favorite book that you'd like to see repurposed into a piece of art? What would that look like?

The Twin Cities have a lot of opportunities for public art initiatives. Think about a spot in your hometown that would benefit from public art. What would you create (or ask your favorite artist to create) to put there, and why?

Many of these museums, galleries, art spaces and artists feature Native American artists, and the Minnesota Museum of American art specifically honors the Dakhóta, acknowledging their land, which was known as Imni Ża Ska and is now Saint Paul. Research your city or region and learn about the American Indian tribes that were originally settled there.

See our Twin Cities art map to virtually plot your route or plan future art adventures!


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