FARGO — For their 17th year, the creatives that form the Fargo Moorhead Visual Artists are opening up their studios or taking their work outside next weekend, Oct. 3-4, to offer a safe crawl experience this year, including mask mandates and social distancing.
While some things may look different this year, the Studio Crawl lives on with a wide variety of artists hosting sales and doing demonstrations, and there’s even some new locations added on this year's route around the community.
A dozen or so studios are opting for online participation only, but remain listed in the FMVA’s 2020 directory and encourage people to visit their pages online and reach out for inquiries.
Listen as No. 22 in the crawl guide, Kim Jore of Riverzen Art Studio in Moorhead is one of the artists who will be online only this year, but she’s still expecting to get creative by working on a new collection of paintings and photographs of small towns surrounding the area.
At stop No. 13, Jon Offutt will still be offering on-the-hour demonstrations outside with his Mobile Glass Studio, and while the crawl may look a little different this year, he still anticipates a crawl full of creativity.
“It not only allows me to promote myself (Mulciber Glass) but also the area as an arts-rich community; in the words of one of the participating artists — ‘people need this, I need this,’” he says.
As director of the Studio Crawl, Offutt explains, “While most of the FMVA's programming has been canceled this year, Studio Crawl will be happening since it takes place in many smaller venues and each of the participating artists will be taking precautions to ensure public safety.”
Art crawlers can enjoy two days of supporting local makers, taking in work from artists ranging from downtown to West Fargo and across the river in Moorhead from noon to 6 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.
Newly added to the crawl this year is Aptitude creative arts studios inside West Acres, where visitors can find a collection of unique spaces occupied by individual storefronts from people working in ceramics, printmaking, home goods and more.
To get the insider perspective on all the must-see studios on the crawl, we caught up with the artists at Aptitude to hear what they have to say.
“Last year, I was in the residency program here at West Acres and I was free one day. I’m usually on the crawl, even as a student and then as an artist after that, too,” says Tara Fermoyle of Fermie Studios.
Fermoyle’s work is highly textured and offered in a wide variety of satisfying colors. Her work in interior design crosses over into the templates and patterns that find their way into her work.
Some of the ceramicist's favorite stops on the crawl include Catie Miller, Emily Williams-Wheeler and North Dakota State University's Renaissance Hall.
“We had a lot of people who would come through Renaissance when I was a student. The print shop would have something going and the ceramics would, too. The community Is really supportive of art, and student art,” Fermoyle says.
Encasing memories in epoxy for her pendants and assorted handmade jewelry, Nicole Nislter of Dandelion Crafted remembers her stop at watercolorist Karen Bakke’s studio one year.
“My mom commissioned her (Bakke) and she painted a portrait of our dog. It's hanging in our house now,” Nistler remembers.
And Spencer Johannes, a ceramicist morphing sleek forms with rustic finishes, remembers his favorite Studio Crawl memories ahead of the Aptitude studio’s first time in the crawl.
“I’ve gone to mostly my professors like Brad Bachmeier. I recommend everyone check out Zhimin Guan because he has one-of-a-kind phrases, like 'grab your friendship brush.' I’ve never had a class with him but I’ve heard so many quotes from him,” Johannes says.
“This is my first year participating, but I am excited for people to see artists’ work and their creative work spaces,” says printmaker Jenny Junker of Yellow Chair Press.
With over 40 artist locations listed in this year's guide, the FMVA Studio Crawl is a diverse representation of art throughout the community, ranging from shops, galleries and universities to backyards and garage studios — and the artists are all ready to talk about what they’ve been creating recently.
Visit FMVA.org for a digital brochure and map, and click on the artists’ images to tour the virtual Studio Crawl.
Guidelines for visitors on this year's crawl include wearing a mask, social distancing and using hand sanitizer after entering a studio.
If you go
What: Fargo Moorhead Visual Artists Studio Crawl
When: noon to 6 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 3, and Sunday, Oct. 4
Where: Locations throughout the Fargo-Moorhead area
Info: This event is free; www.fmva.org/studio-crawl/
This article is part of a content partnership with The Arts Partnership, a nonprofit organization cultivating the arts in Fargo, Moorhead and West Fargo. For more information, visit http://theartspartnership.net.