This summer, Smith Avenue comes alive once again

This spontaneous Celtic jam on Smith Avenue was an amazing addition to last year's Art on the Avenue.

This spontaneous Celtic jam on Smith Avenue was an amazing addition to last year’s Art on the Avenue.

Monday night, a handful of neighborhood leaders and business owners gathered at Amore Coffee to start laying the groundwork for the second Art on the Avenue event. We’re shooting once again for early-mid August.

The meeting focused on lessons learned from last year’s event, and ideas to make it bigger and more vibrant this year. Christine Shyne from the West Side Community Organization will once again be spearheading the planning, with volunteers from the neighborhood doing much of the heavy lifting.

Here are some of the key takeaways from last year and ideas for this year:

  • Community participation is key. This is a grassroots, neighborhood event. Because the main business nodes on Smith Avenue are spaced so far apart, we’ll try to find events/activities/etc that will help fill in the gaps.
  • Last year we were on the same weekend as two major art fairs in Minneapolis. While this likely didn’t impact attendance, it does limit the pool of artists available to work with.
  • While last year’s event was big for some businesses like Amore and the Cherokee, few of the artists reported any sales (but most still enjoyed showing their work to a new audience). We really want to hear from artists about how to make this a great experience for them.
  • We’ll probably consolidate everything into a single day. Some people last year came out on Friday evening only to find many of the exhibits already closed.
  • We’ll try to get food vendors as well, with a priority placed on neighborhood businesses.

If you attended Art on the Avenue last year, let us know what you think we can do to make it even better this year. And watch this space for updates (and calls for volunteers and donations).