Art-A-Whirl in NE Minneapolis With Kids

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Last year we did NEMAA‘s Art-A-Whirl with three kids — one an infant.  We all had a good time and there were no break downs.  I consider that a success.  We also did it the same day that we attended an Okee Dokee Brothers outdoor show.  Although it worked out okay, I would recommend making Art-A-Whirl your only outing for the weekend.  We were all exhausted by the end.


The heart-shaped hole in the sidewalk.

Last year’s strategy, was to do a practice run for future years.  Our focus was to ride the trolley and attend some outdoor events, but to keep it short.  We listened to live music, enjoyed and added to some street art on a wall and spent an inordinate amount of time examining a heart-shaped hole in a sidewalk.

Street Art-A-Whirl

Last year we drew on the side of a building with chalk and admired other people’s artwork, like the one above.

This year, we will bring small umbrella strollers and actually get inside some of the studios.  There are several family-oriented activities listed. You can find a list here, including:

  • Raku (Japanese pottery) demonstrations;
  • Glass blowing demonstrations;
  • Brickmania Open House with extras like music and pizza-by-the-slice available;
  • Art activities with Franconia In the City;
  • An Alley Party thrown by the businesses and artists in the 1101 Stinson Blvd Building;
  • Blacksmithing demonstrations;
  • Jackson Flats Artspace will have family activities;
  • Add your story to a River Story collection; and
  • Several schools and churches will offer art activities.

We will be printing out this kid-friendly list along with a copy of the trolley route to mark our stops on the map.  My kids love maps.   We also plan to pick up a passport to get stamped at each stop.  The only thing more fun than maps are passports.  Besides the fun of getting it stamped, there is a drawing for prizes; and using the passport may help Art-A-Whirl get funding for future events.  This year participants can download passes to ride the bus to the event for free.

Bus ride, trolley ride, mapping, passport stamping and art.  That is one full day for a family.

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About the author

Joy Peters

Joy Peters – co-creator and writer for

Besides Family Fun Twin Cities, I spend my 9 to 5 at a day job pursuing my weird passion for calendars and organizing things as a legal secretary. When I get home I spend my time with my four kids, 10, 6, 4 and 1. My amazing husband is both a full-time musician and full-time stay-at-home dad. Together we run a small radio empire — SiaNet Radio — playing, promoting and enjoying the wide variety of local music and art in the Twin Cities. I juggle all this while writing about exploring the Twin Cities with kids. I couldn’t be happier.


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