Round One, Ding Ding: Saint Paul Art Crawl begins this weekend!

Round One, Ding Ding: Saint Paul Art Crawl begins this weekend!

Published April 10th, 2024 by Katie Dohman

Go three rounds with SPAC this month, starting this weekend in Little Mekong Cultural District, Merriam Park, Summit-Grand, and the West Side

This article is produced in collaboration with the Saint Paul Art CollectiveSaint Paul Art Collective


Robins are singing, dandelions and daffodils are blooming, and dozens and dozens of artists around town are in their hives, feverishly making and framing and prepping for one of the signs of spring that ranks up there with nature coming back to life: Art crawls. 

This year, it’s simpler to brace yourself and pace yourself to take in the thriving art scene — and you should still make a plan, clear your schedule, and wear comfortable shoes — because the Saint Paul Art Collective (SPAC) has planned the Saint Paul Art Crawl strategically over not one, not two, but three weekends this month. 

This first weekend, April 12 – 14, will span several venerated Saint Paul neighborhoods, including Little Mekong Cultural District, Merriam Park, Summit-Grand, and the West Side. Here are two don’t-miss picks:


The Grand Hand Gallery

Husband-and-wife co-owners Rachael Hartzler and Jim Jacobson took over The Grand Hand Gallery about a year and a half ago, hot off the growing success of their hyperlocal art focus. First, the pair conceived of and hosted the Micro Art Fair that they held on their block in their own neighborhood; that venture blossomed into a tiny gallery called the Grand Micro Gallery on Selby. Hartzler says it was always her secret dream to either be or become The Grand Hand, so when a mutual friend connected the two with the former owners as they considered selling, it was kismet. “I was a longtime customer, and I wanted the Grand Micro Gallery to be the Grand Hand, but I knew we couldn’t compete,” she says, her voice tinged with admiration.

They also have been involved with SPAC, primarily to help build community amongst local artists. “We felt a connection with the art community and other artists, and artists with diverse backgrounds and perspectives were really important to us,” she says. “We wanted to be more connected and have a better representation of people and artists living in the Twin Cities. And one way to make that connection was to become more involved with SPAC.” 


Photo courtesy of The Grand Hand Gallery.


Hartzler and Jacobson will be hosting an opening event and pop-up artists throughout the weekend.

On April 12, from 5-7 The Grand Hand will be hosting the work of painter Tom Tyler and his students. Enjoy some snacks and get to know the work, which is scarce online and worth a viewing. (Friday, The Grand Hand is open from 10 am to 7 pm, if you can’t make the reception itself.)

Besides Tyler’s exhibition, visitors can also check out pop-ups from photographer Richard Schultz

“Schultz is a local photographer I’ve been wanting to bring into the gallery,” Hartzler says, adding she admires his portraiture and photojournalistic style. “I first met him through the art fair community and was really impressed with images he captured from around the Twin Cities. They might be of places you see over and over, but they have a really fresh perspective.” 


Richard Schultz, All That Remains.


Hartzler is a working artist herself, known for her illustrations. The Grand Hand co-owner rarely carries her own art, billed under the name Crocus Hill Creatives, so it’s a rare opportunity to catch some of her illustrations in the space. And who knows? There may be some other surprises popping up, too. 

Saturday only, catch the ceramic work of Jen Kingsbury of Mud + Bark, whose work bears a certain Scandinavian patterning and imagery. “She does really unconventional things with ceramics,” Hartzler says. She also says some of Kingsbury’s work is a bit edgier, and that this art crawl might be a great place and time for her to have her pop-up platform. 

The Grand Hand is open from 10 to 5 on Saturday and 11 to 5 on Sunday, for your planning purposes. 


XIA Gallery & Cafe 

Npaus Baim Her, arts and culture creative placemaker at XIA Gallery & Cafe — a lovely title that means she runs the arts and culture programs for the Asian American and BIPOC artists they showcase there — has a big show planned for this Little Mekong art crawl destination. 

Author Jamie Kalakaru-Mava has an exhibition of her latest children’s book, Half a World Away. “If Half a World Away is my heart on a page, then this show is my heart on the gallery walls,” she says. 

The book tells the story of her family trip to visit Sri Lanka and explores her South Asian heritage. 



The exhibition actually runs through April 30, but on April 13 at 4 PM, visitors can participate in a meet and greet, get the author’s autograph, and learn more about the exhibit and her book. But, Her emphasizes, the book is more than the product for a polished book launch; it’s an exploration of Kalakaru-Mava’s identity, that of her daughters, and her family life. The real photos that inspired each illustration in the book will also be on display to compare and contrast. There will also be additional family photos of her dad, his home country, and more. 

“It’s not just a gallery with illustrations from the book,” Her explains. “It’s the process of creating her book. The trials and errors of her characters, and how the different kinds of patterns that represent her South Asian culture make their way to batik fabrics…It’s a very heartwarming story.” 

 This is no hands-off gallery event: The family friendly vibe includes a living room for kids to flop  down with coloring sheets drawn by the author for them to practice their own illustration skills in Kalakaru-Mava’s style. ◼︎ 


Visitors enjoying the Half A World Away exhibition. Photo courtesy of XIA Gallery & Cafe.

Saint Paul Art Crawl occurs over three weekends: April 12–14, April 19-21, and April 26-28. For a full schedule of locations and participants, visit or follow them on Instagram @stpaulartcollective.

Banner image courtesy of The Grand Hand Gallery.

We can't do it without you.

Help keep independent arts journalism alive in the Twin Cities.