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Weekend festival roundup: two art crawls and the Twin Cities Book Festival

It’s a big weekend for festivals — metro area arts lovers can choose from the St. Paul Art Crawl, the Seward Arts Festival (including the neighborhood’s popular Seward Art Crawl) and an annual literary extravaganza, the Twin Cities Book Festival.

The 28th Annual St. Paul Art Crawl
• More than 300 artist studios and galleries throughout St. Paul
• 6 to10 p.m. Friday, noon to -8 p.m. Saturday and noon to 5 p.m. Sunday

For the St. Paul Art Collective’s fall art crawl, more than 300 resident artists and galleries, from Lowertown to Grand Avenue to University and Raymond, will open their doors to thousands of visitors eager to see the artists at practice and to browse through their work. As you stroll from one grand old historic building to another, you’ll find artwork in every conceivable media and price point — ceramics, painting, sculpture, textiles, fashion and digital art.

In addition to the sprawling self-guided tour (here’s a handy map), visitors can get their hands dirty by participating in Lowertown artist Tacoumba Aitken’s community-created public art project, “The Living Mural.” It’s also worth seeking out the artists in the Crawl’s “15-Minutes of Fame” performance venue (Studio Z, #200, of the Northwestern Building). There you’ll find an eclectic lineup of musicians and spoken-word and theater artists on Friday evening and Saturday afternoon.

The 10th Annual Seward Arts Festival
• 200 artists in more than 40 studios and galleries in the Seward neighborhood of Minneapolis
• Friday through Sunday

This Minneapolis neighborhood arts shindig has certainly grown over the years. The centerpiece of the festival, the Seward Art Crawl, will take place over three days and at about 40 locations. As you’d expect, visitors will have a chance to see diverse works — by more than 200 artists.

In addition to the visual art, festival goers can take in the ArtCar Parade on Saturday and a variety of live performances, a new Garden Tour and sample an assortment of food and drink from neighborhood restaurants and coffee shops throughout the weekend.

The 9th Annual Twin Cities Book Festival
Minneapolis Community & Technical College
• 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday

The author appearances that Rain Taxi manages to wrangle for its annual literary celebration get more impressive by the year. Look through the roster of literati invited to speak this year, and you’ll see what I mean.

Here are a few names that immediately caught my eye: Nicholson Baker (“Mezzanine,” “Vox”); Pulitzer winner Robert Olen Baker (“A Good Scent from a Strange Mountain”); fiction writer Lorrie Moore (“Birds of America,” “Self Help”); poet and acclaimed nonfiction author Diane Ackerman (“A Natural History of Love,” “An Alchemy of Mind”); naturalist David Sibley (“The Sibley Guide to Birds”).

Also intriguing: a panel discussion on “The Future of Poetry,” which will bring together some of the most notable poets and writers working around the country to talk about the state of the form.

Between events, you can wander through the aisles of exhibitors at the Book Fair — scads of indie press and literary magazine tables, booksellers’ booths laden with volumes for sale, and a full day of book signings by area authors. In addition, there will be story times for small children, book arts workshops by the Minnesota Center for Book Arts, and a Morning Mixer where readers can mingle with noted local authors.

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