Greta Sandquist’s painting, “Fly Away With Me,” was on display at the Edina Art Fair June 5 across the street from the Edina Theatre, set to reopen this summer. (Sun Current staff photo by Caitlin Anderson)
William Wessling, 4, searches for “Freddy the Fox” in Kevin Thurk’s photo on display at the Edina Art Fair June 5. Thurk, in addition to photographing wildlife, has published a children’s book featuring his photos embedded with small “Freddy the Fox” images for kids to find. (Sun Current staff photo by Caitlin Anderson)
Edina Art Fair’s featured artist H. Ward Miles speaks to an attendee of her booth. (Sun Current staff photo Caitlin Anderson)
The Edina Art Fair took place June 3-5, returning after a two-year hiatus due to the pandemic. (Sun Current staff photo by Caitlin Anderson)
Faerie House’s booth was adorned with small crafted houses, created by Edina’s Frank and Bell Barr, at the Edina Art Fair June 5. (Sun Current staff photo by Caitlin Anderson)
H. Ward Miles, a contemporary painter, poses with one of her paintings on display at the Edina Art Fair June 5. (Sun Current staff photo by Caitlin Anderson)

Edina Community Editor
Greta Sandquist’s painting, “Fly Away With Me,” was on display at the Edina Art Fair June 5 across the street from the Edina Theatre, set to reopen this summer. (Sun Current staff photo by Caitlin Anderson)
H. Ward Miles’ series of contemporary paintings, “Here’s Hoping,” are intended to tie together the natural world, the springtime and ensuing feelings of hope for the future.
So when the Edina Art Fair returned this year after a two-year delay due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Indianapolis-based artist seemed like the “perfect fit” to be this year’s featured artist, representing the theme of the 2022 fair, “The Art of Community,” Max Musicant, acting director of the 50th & France Business and Professional Association, which hosts the fair, told the Sun Current.
H. Ward Miles, a contemporary painter, poses with one of her paintings on display at the Edina Art Fair June 5. (Sun Current staff photo by Caitlin Anderson)
“(Miles’) artistic inspiration, and also just the aesthetic of how she represents that, just really, I felt, embodied the energy and message that we were hoping to be able to convey,” he said. “The pulse of the community … is just a real hunger for coming back together and to celebrate together and just a real need to have that collective positivity.”
And come together, they did.
Edina Art Fair organizers have initially estimated that at least 200,000 people came out to this year’s event, which typically takes place annually at the intersection of 50th Street and France Avenue. The event, which ran June 3-5, featured over 250 artists and crafters from Minnesota and across the U.S. in addition to food trucks, live music and other attractions.
William Wessling, 4, searches for “Freddy the Fox” in Kevin Thurk’s photo on display at the Edina Art Fair June 5. Thurk, in addition to photographing wildlife, has published a children’s book featuring his photos embedded with small “Freddy the Fox” images for kids to find. (Sun Current staff photo by Caitlin Anderson)
“It was a wonderful weekend,” Musicant said. “Artists were pleased with the amount of people that came out.”
Planning for the fair largely started late last year, involving putting the different pieces of the fair together, such as the many artists placed in booths stretching along the streets of 50th & France.
“(It) has really just been a wonderful puzzle to put together,” said Musicant, whose company, Musicant Group, manages the 50th & France Association. “It’s been really interesting and exciting to take our placemaking lens and apply it to this event in addition to putting the logistical pieces together with our event partners as well.”
The Edina Art Fair took place June 3-5, returning after a two-year hiatus due to the pandemic. (Sun Current staff photo by Caitlin Anderson)
Musicant added that it was important to support the artists, who also had put in significant resources, such as time and money, to be part of the fair. Both returning artists and newcomers to the fair “make the art fair special as both a tradition and a dynamically evolving event.”
Organizers also highlighted “emerging artists” as part of an initiative to emphasize the work of those who have been making a difference with their art. These artists included Inkpa Mani, Samuel Fleming and Teeko Yang. Musicant said the organizers wanted to take “intentional” steps to have the art fair “reflect and benefit the full diversity of the creative community here, both culturally but also in the span of people’s career arc.”
Faerie House’s booth was adorned with small crafted houses, created by Edina’s Frank and Bell Barr, at the Edina Art Fair June 5. (Sun Current staff photo by Caitlin Anderson)
The “emerging artists” program is expected to be a regular part of the Edina Art Fair going forward, he said.
Another new aspect of the event was utilizing the plaza next to Nolan Mains for a Kids Zone, where children were able to get their faces painted, dance to music and participate in the first-ever Edina Art Fair coloring contest.
The coloring sheets featured a version of Miles’ painting of the same name within the series, “Here’s Hoping.” The artist chose the winners, who each received a Sweet Science Ice Cream gift card.
Miles, who was an art teacher for 16 years in Indianapolis, started “very cautiously” doing art on her own, she said. In 2018, it became a full-time career, where she relied on art fairs for making a living. Typically, Miles does 10-14 art fairs per year. But when the pandemic happened and art fairs were canceled, it was “scary” realizing that it would continue longer than expected, Miles said.
Edina Art Fair’s featured artist H. Ward Miles speaks to an attendee of her booth. (Sun Current staff photo Caitlin Anderson)
But people ended up reaching out to her to buy work through social media or came by her studio, which was “really heartwarming,” she said.
“It’s just great to be back and have the shows back again,” Miles said. “People are very excited to be back outside.”
The Edina Art Fair was an opportunity to reacquaint people with the 50th & France district and its new stores, restaurants, public spaces and this year’s summer programming, Musicant said.
“We are really excited to reintroduce many people to 50th & France, from across the region who … may not have visited here since (the new changes),” he said.
– Follow Caitlin Anderson on Twitter @EdinaSunCurrent
Copyright ©2022 at Sun Newspapers/ APG Media of East Central Minnesota. Digital dissemination of this content without prior written consent is a violation of federal law and may be subject to legal action.
Edina Community Editor
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