You might not think of Longfellow as a tourist destination, but consider all that this unassuming corner of South Minneapolis has to offer: the Mississippi River and Minnehaha Falls, Lakes Hiawatha and Nokomis, charming 1920s-era bungalows, quirky history, a growing collection of stylish bistros, cafés and shops—and, this weekend, the LoLa art crawl, August 23 & 24, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. both days. Look for maps around the neighborhood or download a PDF on the art crawl website.
|Garden House, by Kat Corrigan (site No. 43)|
Each summer since 2009, the League of Longfellow Artists (LoLa) has invited the public into artists’ homes and studios around greater Longfellow (which includes Nokomis East and Standish Ericsson neighborhooods), as well as independent cafés, bars, and shops, to celebrate the treasures of artistic expression in our community.
|Minnehaha Falls, by Jymme Golden (site No. 39)|
This year’s crawl features 114 artists, who must be the makers of the items they are selling, and must live or work in greater Longfellow to participate.
|Storm Clouds Break Over Mississippi River Gorge, by Kim Gordon (site No. 13)|
They will be exhibiting at 60 sites that offer plenty of opportunities for visitors to eat, drink, shop and relax throughout the day.
|Minnehaha Falls, by Angie Runnels (site No. 16)|
Another recent trend in Longfellow, and an added reason to visit at any time, is the emergence of arty vintage shops all along Minnehaha Avenue.These are not just antique or secondhand shops, but are also repositories of unusual craft supplies and original artwork and crafts made from repurposed materials. Three of these shops, Paris Antiques (site No. 35), E’s Emporium (site No. 38), and Junket: Tossed and Found (site No. 40), are also stops on the art crawl.
|Lock and Dam No. 1, by John NotBatman (site No. 7)|
Need a little refreshment and a light meal? You can see LoLa art and artists at these coffee shops and cafés: Peace Coffee Wonderland Park (site No. 27), Blue Moon Coffee Cafe (Site. No. 12), Fireroast Café (site No. 41), and the Riverview Cafe and Wine Bar (site No. 43).
|Bicycle by Meg Erke (site No. 30)|
For heartier fare and fortification, consider a full English Breakfast or, later, fish and chips, at Merlin’s Rest Pub (site No. 16), or check out the food truck offerings at Harriet Brewing (site No. 8)
|Harriet Brewing, by Jesse Brödd (site No. 8)|
Getting here: Longfellow is easily accessed from downtown by way of the Blue Line (Hiawatha) LRT, with stops at Lake Street, 38th Street, and 46th Street taking visitors into the heart of this bucolic urban neighborhood. From there you can connect with bus routes that take you to corners where there are clusters of LoLa sites.There are also many Nice Ride bike stations, including at both the 38th Street and 46th Street LRT stations, for exploring the neighborhood on two wheels. (Short-term passes are available.)
|Bicycle necklace by Jean Bushey (site No. 32)|
For a self-guided tour of historic sites along East Lake Street in Longfellow, visit the Lake Street Council website.
|Longfellow Garden, by Anita White, Amaranth Art Studio (site No. 51)|
To read about the history behind Longfellow Gardens, located on the Minnehaha Parkway land bridge going over Hiawatha on your way to sites No. 52 to 60, click here (see page 127).
|Minnehaha Falls by Bob Schmitt, Laughing Waters Studio (site No. 52)|
The League of Longfellow Artists is an artist-organized, all-volunteer association dedicated to raising the visibility of local artists, and building a sense of community through art in greater Longfellow, which is the area defined by Cedar Avenue to the Mississippi River and East 28th Street to the Crosstown (Hwy 62).