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Arts aplenty: A roundup of arts festivals on both sides of the river this weekend

It looks like we're in store for some intermittent showers this weekend, but no matter. Whether you're in the market for an afternoon's excursion with the kids, live music, or some serious art shopping, there are a number of outdoor arts festivals on both sides of the river in the next few days that are well worth braving a few sprinkles.

Edina Art Fair
Courtesy of Peterson Portraits
Edina Art Fair

The 44th Annual Edina Art Fair
The Edina Art Fair is one of the state's largest, second only to the Uptown Art Fair in size, and organizers are expecting as many as 90,000 visitors in the coming days.

For this year's fair, the upscale shopping district at 50th and France is hosting 365 artists from all over the country, who will exhibit their sculpture, photography, painting, fine craft, fashion, and more. In addition to the usual variety of artist vendors, the fair is introducing a new Green Art section, featuring artists whose work is environmentally friendly (i.e. made of at least 70 percent recycled/re-used materials).

The Edina Art Fair will also present live music all weekend by local and regional musicians, including Charmin Michelle, Charlie Parr, Teddy Bear Band, Alison Scott, Lehto & Wright, and Cooker John.

Visitors will find children's activities in the "Kids' Zone," a number of live art demonstrations, a fashion show, and, of course, a wide array of food and drink vendors. A full program of events is available on the Edina Art Fair website (PDF).

The Edina Art Fair takes place Friday, June 4 (10 a.m.  to 7 p.m.); Saturday, June 5 (10 a.m. to 7 p.m.); Sunday, June 6 (10 a.m. - 5 p.m.) at 50th and France. There will be free shuttle service to the fair, running all weekend long from Southdale Shopping Center.

Minneapolis MOSAIC
Minneapolis launches its summer-long celebration of the city's cultural diversity on Saturday, June 5, with a full day of multicultural dance, theater, music and art exhibits. For this year's festival kick-off, MOSAIC is joining forces with Twin Cities World Refugee Day, giving special recognition to the more than 100,000 refugees from all over the world who now make Minnesota their home.

Minneapolis MOSAIC
Minneapolis MOSAIC

Among the variety of performances, festival-goers will be treated to: Flamenco-jazz fusion, hip-hop, and reggae; Aztec, Hmong and Chinese dance; Vietnamese storytelling, Native American drum circles, and square dancing. Also of note is the premiere of the 2010 MOSAIC art commission, "Soul to Sole," a cross-cultural collaboration by Katha Dance Theatre and Robert Robinson Music, fusing classical Indian Kathak dance with American gospel music.

There will also be a community resource fair to introduce visitors to the abundance of global arts and cultural events offered in the city all year long. Saturday evening, MOSAIC will host the first annual teen talent show, MPLS TLNT SHW, a showcase of performing arts by Minneapolis high-school students; food will be provided all day by the vendors of the Midtown Global Market. And this is just the beginning — more than 100 MOSAIC-sponsored arts and cultural events will take place throughout Minneapolis during the summer months.

Minneapolis MOSAIC's opening day festivities will take place in a number of downtown Minneapolis venues from 1 p.m to 10 p.m. on June 5, among them Pantages Theater, Hennepin Stages, and a number of outdoor stages just off Hennepin Avenue, between 7th and 8th Streets. (See the full evening's line-up of events here.) 

Flint Hills International Children's Arts Festival
With a passel of performances and special kids' arts events and activities, the Ordway's annual Flint Hills International Children's Arts Festival offers a bevy of family-friendly programming, both on stage at the Ordway and outdoors, in the parks surrounding the venue.

During the festival's "Family Weekend," in particular, Rice Park, Landmark Plaza, and Hamm Plaza will be filled with free performances, art exhibits and children's activities, including the art fair circuit's favorite stilt-walkers, Chicks on Sticks, the CAAM Chinese Dance Theater, Circus Juventus, Katha Dance Theatre, music from Salsa del Soul, and scads more. See the full line-up of this weekend's free performances in the park on the festival's website.

The Flint Hills International Children's Arts Festival takes place from June 1-6, with a variety of world-class, touring artists on the Ordway stage throughout the week and a host of free outdoor performances in the park all weekend long, June 5 & 6.

Walker Art Center launches "Open Field"
This summer, the Walker aims to enlist the public's help in creating a "cultural commons" in the green, hilly space just outside the art center, "a kind of intellectual, recreational, social, and artistic platform" envisioned as a collaborative, community-driven program.

For their part, the Walker is providing a "new outdoor courtyard, a tool shed with equipment for relaxation and play, a weekly Drawing Club, projects with the artist collectives Red76 and Futurefarmers — two groups that are deeply engaged in the art of social engagement, collaboration, and the spirit of the commons — and a roster of "conversations, workshops, and activities for all ages."

This evening at 6 p.m., the Walker is "Opening the Field" with a "social hour" and a wide-ranging conversation around the notion of a cultural commons — with ideas on the subject from those working in new media, law, visual art, music, and architecture. Featured speakers include Michael Edson of the Smithsonian Institution, U of MN musicologist Sumanth Gopinath, artist Jon Ippolito, U of MN landscape design professor Laura Musacchio, and Caroline Woolard, artist and co-founder of OurGoods, a bartering network for independent projects.

Find out more about the Walker Art Center's "Open Field" programming online, including details on the opening night's celebration and a regularly updated calendar of upcoming, community-driven events.

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