Friends of the Arts supports the St. Louis Park community through creative arts and culture activities. Our mission is to support, promote, and enhance the arts in St. Louis Park to bring people together and build community. We connect people and organizations around the arts, share arts-related information and resources, support local artists, and coordinate community arts programs.
Throughout 2023 we have grown several of our programs, and continued our tradition of making the arts accessible for our local community. That growth in programs and some highlights from 2023 include...
The Trail of Small Wonders: Brand New Opening Day Festival!
Now in it's third year, our "fairy garden"-style program has grown every year. Our artists offer workshops and help teach families how to make their own small wonder, whether its a house for a fairy, gnome, dragon, or any magical woodland creature. We also made a video to teach people to make a small wonder on their own if they couldn't attend a workshop. Then we had the community-made small wonders placed along the trails at Westwood Hills Nature Center for a month-long exhibit. Over 45 small wonders, made by local community members, were on display for the public to experience.
And for the first time ever, we had an Opening Day Festival to kick off the Trail! With stilt walkers, and a face-painter, and a puppet show, and storytellers, and a magic show, and make-and-take art stations, over 400 people came out to experience this free, family-friendly event at the Nature Center!
See KARE 11's spot about this event here.
SLP Art Fair: Bigger than Ever!
This was the 5th year of the SLP Art Fair, held every September at the Recreation Outdoor Center (the ROC) in St. Louis Park. And this was our biggest Art Fair ever! We had over 80 presenting artists -- almost half of which were local, St. Louis Park artists and artisans -- selling everything from paintings, to jewelry, to hand-crafted soaps, woodcarvings, chocolates, and more! For the second year in a row we also had a Youth Mini Market. This gave local children the opportunity to sell their own, original artworks as part of the Art Fair.
Alongside performances by musicians and dancers, with local food trucks, with art-stations for community-members of all ages to make art...over 4,000 people came to the ROC for our one-day SLP Art Fair!
Gift of Music: 55 Instruments Given Away this Fall!
The Gift of Music Program is a collaborative partnership between Friends of the Arts and the St. Louis Park Community Band, and is the brainchild of Jim Rhodes, saxophonist and longtime Friends of the Arts and Community Band board member. We take in donated instruments, have them cleaned and repaired, and give these like-new instruments away for free to students in the local SLP schools.
This fall we gave away 55 instruments. This is 55 local students who otherwise would not have been able to have an instrument of their own to participate in music, band, or orchestra. Typically we give away 30-45 instruments every year, so giving away 55 in the fall semester alone was a new record for us! And we're excited to continue to find children to gift instruments to.
Support creativity in your community with a donation to Friends of the Arts today!