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Paintings and photographs adorn the walls of River City Jewelers in Grand Forks. The store is just one of many stops in the North Valley Council's Art and Wine walk. The walk is a way to promote and encourage residents to check out and support their local artists. The walk runs June through October on the third Saturday of each month. (Luke Franke/ Grand Forks Herald)

More and more flock to sip and stroll at Art and Wine Walk

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The eighth season of the annual Art and Wine Walk kicks off Saturday in downtown Grand Forks and East Grand Forks.

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The walk begins at 1 p.m. at the Blue Moose Bar and Grill, 507 Second St. N.W., East Grand Forks, or at the GuestHouse Inn, 710 First Ave. N., Grand Forks.

 

Participants can purchase a map for $15 and visit each of the participating businesses to receive a stamp on your map. Those who are 21 years old and older will receive a wristband, which will allow them to receive free wine samples at each location. The walk concludes with a champagne reception at the Empire Arts Center. People under 21 years old are still encouraged to attend the event.

At the businesses, art will be on display for those attending the walk to view, with between 15 and 20 businesses participating in the walk each month.

The Art and Wine Walk will take place on the third Saturday of each month until October. The walk is scheduled for June 21, July 19, Aug. 16, Sept. 20 and Oct. 18. Season passes can be purchased for $50.

Growth

Marie Strinden, the executive director for the North Valley Arts Council, said the Art and Wine Walk has continued to grow since she joined NOVAC. Event organizers expect about 400 people to participate in the event each month.

“There were times when we sold 200 maps and that was considered a great walk,” Strinden said. “Now, if we only sell 350, that’s a really slow walk.”

Micheal Zhorela of River City Jewelers, one of the businesses that hosts artists during the walk, echoed that sentiment. He said he’s seen the number of visitors attending the walk grow especially over the last several years.

“You see a lot of regulars coming in and they’re bringing new people with them,” Zhorela said.

The Art and Wine Walk in the Grand Cities was the first of its kind in the area. With the success of the walk, more Art and Wine Walks have started up in places such as Fargo.

“It says a lot about the community and the support this community has for the arts,” Strinden said.

Promoting art

Strinden said the goal of the Art and Wine Walk is to allow the community to meet local artists in a casual environment. The event is unique in that participants can discuss art, ask questions and buy the art at each of the businesses.

With so many people viewing an artists’ work, it provides an opportunity for local artists to get their name out and promote their craft. Strinden said she believes the interaction between the artists and the public is why the number of high-quality artists has increased in the walk’s eight years.

Zhorela of River City Jewelers said he and the store try to support the artists as much as possible by displaying artwork and photography throughout their store.

“As jewelers, we feel we’re artists,” Zhorela said. “The designs of the jewelry have to come from somewhere. It’s only natural that we sponsor an event like this.”

IF YOU GO

What: The eighth annual season of the Art and Wine Walk in downtown Grand Forks and East Grand Forks begins

When: 1 p.m. Saturday

Where: Blue Moose Bar and Grill or at the GuestHouse Inn

The Art and Wine Walk will take place on the third Saturday of each month from June through October. The walk will take place on:

  •  June 21
  •  July 19
  •  August 16
  •  September 20
  •  October 18
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