Art fairs in Minneapolis started over 50 years ago, largely organized by neighborhood organizations. Some of the oldest art fairs in the city are going through some changes right now, including those in Loring Park and Uptown, according to Ben Cooney, co-director of Homespun Events. The Uptown Art Fair will be held at Bachman's later this year and the Loring Park Art Festival is undergoing leadership changes.

“It's an interesting time,” Cooney said.” “It’s like the changing of tides of art fairs in Minnesota.”

Homespun Events is the new manager for the Edina Art Fair, which takes place this weekend. The company recently put on the Mother’s Day weekend art fair at the Sculpture Garden.

Edina Art Fair is still owned by the 50th & France Business and Professional Association, which has been running the art fair for 57 years.

“After COVID was the first time that they decided to subcontract the management of the art fair, rather than having their internal team run it themselves,” Cooney said.

With some outside help comes some new perspective on how to run the art fair, too.

“We're doing things in a new-school way that we think allows a little bit more variety for customers coming back year after year,” Cooney said of the Edina Art Fair. Art fair goers won’t be seeing the same artists in the same spots like they have in the past and will be seeing a bigger group of new talent at the fair’s emerging artists plaza.

Cooney said the former director of the art fair, Rachel Thelemann, grew one the biggest and most respected art fairs in Minnesota. “But we're certainly doing a few things differently than she did,” he said.

The 2024 Edina Art Fair will include a live music stage, a culinary arts market, and an area with plenty of kid-friendly activities, including face painting and screen-printing.

The first art fair started by Cooney and Homespun Events co-owner Jill Hayes was the Minnehaha Art Fair. As artists themselves, they have been embedded in the art fair community for a decade.

“[The art fair] has become a great success,” Cooney said. “After COVID, there was this pent-up demand for people wanting to get out and support local art and local businesses.”

One thing that Cooney and Hayes noted in their previous success was location and considered that when developing their Mother’s Day art fair.

“We put it in such an iconic location,” Cooney said. “So we knew if we were going to repeat this potential success, we needed to find another iconic location. And what's more iconic of a location in Minnesota, particularly in the art scene, than the Sculpture Garden?”

Homespun Events co-owners Ben Cooney and Jill Hayes at their Sculpture Garden art fair on Mother's Day Weekend. Photo courtesy of Homespun Events

The Homespun Events’ Mother’s Day art fair was the first art fair held at the Minneapolis Sculpture Garden. “Tens of thousands of people showed up,” Cooney said.

The Edina Art Fair runs May 31 to June 2 at 50th Street and France Avenue.