There's no shortage of fantastic artists around the Whitefish Chain. Whether painters, potters, sculptors or carvers, there's talent in the woods. And every year over Labor Day weekend, those artists show off their creations at Arts Off 84, an annual art crawl.
This will be the ninth year for Arts Off 84. Along Highway 84 will be eight stops, each one with unique artists and unique displays. While Arts Off 84 is primarily an art show, those following the tour will find that there's much more awaiting them: music at some stops, arts projects for children, a pumpkin patch and more.
This year the event will be Saturday and Sunday, Sept. 3-4, along Highway 84 between Pine River and Longville. Saturday hours are 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Sunday hours are 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. The event is free to attend.
Find a map of the stops (and a list of the artists at each stop) at the Arts Off 84 website. Flyers have also been distributed around town with the same information, or you can simply start driving up Highway 84 and watch for the black and red signs marking the sites.
The range of artists is huge. While wall art like paintings and photographs are displayed in the show, Arts Off 84 includes all kinds of artists at all price points. You'll find artisans who create cigar box guitars, basket weavers, metal sculptors, fine jewelers and more. Some of the other artwork slated for the event includes leather portraits, stained and fused glass, gourd art, baked goods, herbal soaps and lotions, cement planters and more. Arts Off 84 is a juried event, so all artists apply to participate each year. Several stops have the work of 13 different artists on display.
You might want to start your tour of Arts Off 84 in Pine River, where the first stop is The Warehouse, at 2nd St. and Norway Ave. This stop isn't technically on Highway 84, but will be loaded with artwork.
After that stop, start heading up Highway 84. At Site 4, morning treats and coffee will be available, and picnic lunches will be available in the afternoon. Site 2 has pick-your-own pumpkins; Site 3 has sitting characters and photo ops; Site 6 will have Bonnie the Plant Lady and music by Terri T; and Site 8 will have music by Tom Lund.
New this year are Kids Creation Stations at two of the sites. Arts Off 84 believes art is for all ages, so at Site 1 and Site 5, children will have the opportunity to create their own works of art and take them home. This year, the art crawl will also include the work three student artists.
Sites along the route include both indoor and outdoor venues, taking advantage of the area's natural beauty. For many, Arts Off 84 has become an annual tradition, with families planning their vacations around the event. Take a drive on Highway 84 Sept. 3-4 and see the wide variety of artists from across Minnesota, all in one place.