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Art in Ortonville & Big Stone County

The 2018 Meander (Upper Minnesota River Art Crawl) is coming up this weekend (October 5, 6, & 7th).  And, often times we (as economic development people – and likely City Council members) look to the numbers as verification of the impact that an art event provides to their community – for confirmation.  Like, in 2017 there was a total of $111,920 total reported Meander art sales to customers during the Meander weekend with $2,870 Average reported art sales per artist.  Then there is the breakdown of average expenditures per customer:  $124 on Meander Art, $43 on Food/Gas, $11 on shopping, other than art, and $18 on Lodging.  85 to 1,500 were the reported total number of customers at individual studios for the entire weekend.  (Big Stone County’s Red Barn stop with multiple artists always ranks high on the customer visitor chart)

However, this picture – this young lady – reminds me that art not only contributes financially, it is also a vital foundation for our community’s youth and families.  So taking my eyes off the financial aspect, I know the joy in this girl’s face came from an amazing day spent in Big Stone County’s portion of the 2017 Meander.  She spent the day with her mother and her grandmother – enjoying treats at Lingonberry’s and walking downtown Ortonville enjoying the art and they traveled out to the Red Barn (and others!)    And, of course, her mom allowed her to purchase… art!  It is really hard to calculate the value that art provides to our community; however, I think we can agree… it carries much more weight than talking numbers (just look at the joy in her smile!)

So… head out this weekend and enjoy the Meander with family and/or friends.  It is an amazing experience – and an awesome way to enjoy a fall day in rural Minnesota!  There are 38 studios that run from the Big Stone State Park (just north of Ortonville) to Granite Falls.  Check out the Meander map and studio descriptions at

You’ll find our Big Stone County Meader Artists on the link – they are:  
Rob Rakow will be at the Big Stone Wildlife Refuge Headquarters in Odessa
Edie Barrett and Liz Rackle will be at the Guesthouse in Ortonville
Kathleen Marihart at the Smallest Gallery in Ortonville
At the Red Barn, you’ll find Anne Dietz & Pam Stueve, Beverly Schultz, Carol Knutson, Neva Foster
You’ll find John G. White in his Studio between Ortonville & Clinton
and Don Sherman will be at the Big Stone State Park.

2017 Pioneer Public TV POST CARDS video on the Meander:

Check out a few highlights from Ortonville/Big Stone County’s first local Art Crawl from 2018 (and make sure to mark your calendar for the 2019 2nd Annual event –
June 8th – Link to Event:

And check out Ortonville’s latest addition to Main Street!  Greg & Sue Lockwood have been working hard to bring one of Ortonville’s historic bank buildings back to life.  The Ortonville Mercantile was open on Saturday afternoon for the afternoon art tours for the Southwest Minnesota Arts Council 2018 Annual Celebration which was held at the Ortonville Clubhouse (Thank you for selecting Ortonville!)   If you missed this afternoon tour, here are a few highlights from inside the Ortonville Mercantile.

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