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Straight River Art Festival 2024

Straight River Art Festival in FaribaultTents pop up around the fountain in Heritage Park in Faribault starting around 7am. It’s early, and donuts and coffee sustain the artists and volunteers as they prepare for a day of chatting with art lovers, listening to music and sharing their work with the community. This is the third year for the Straight River Art Festival – a labor of love that started as an idea to bring more visibility to the many artists in the region, and it’s caught on. This year will feature 34 artists and, for the first time, live demonstrations of steamroller printing and raku firing. There will also be food trucks and multiple musical acts.

Jessica Prill, a jeweler and the owner of Fleur de Lis Gallery and Good Day Coffee in Faribault, became aware of the need for an outdoor art event in 2019. “Other communities have enjoyed outdoor art events for years, but there wasn’t really anything around here and we have so many artists!” She approached Tami Resler, a local ceramic artist, about starting an outdoor festival. “Luckily, Tami never says no to a project,” Prill laughs. “We share a love for mentoring artists and starting things.” The duo first started contacting local artists to feel out interest and quickly realized that not only was the festival doable, it needed to happen.

Prill, through Fleur de Lis Gallery, represents 70 artists, most of them based in Southern Minnesota, and Resler has been the Chair of the South Central Minnesota Studio ARTour since 2018, and has been involved in the arts in Faribault for more than 15 years, so partnering with artists was second nature to them both. “I’m amazed at the sheer number of artists in our area,” says Resler. “So many work in relative isolation, but an event like this, which is only one day and inexpensive, gives them the chance to sort of test the waters to get out into the public eye a little more.” The festival has also been a fun way for art lovers and other artists to participate as volunteers. “We are so fortunate to have people who are there for us: to set up tents, make sure the artists are helped throughout the day, answer questions and help clean up afterwards,” Prill says. “And we are so thankful for the businesses and individuals who help sponsor the event,” adds Resler. “When you start to put together something like this, you realize all of the moving parts that need to be addressed, and we sincerely need all the help we can get,” she adds with a laugh.

With the expert help of Paula Person, who works on logistics, sponsorships, website and administration, the trio have founded Straight River Arts, a non-profit organization whose mission it is to bring visibility and awareness to local arts, give artists venues to display and sell their work and to bring together artists and the community. “This year we also started working with District One Hospital in the Healing Arts Gallery,” says Prill. “We have artists hang their work at the hospital. It’s been well received by patients and staff alike.” Future events will include a poetry reading/slam, pop-up shops, workshops, classes and more. Anyone who would like to get involved with Straight River Arts, as an artist, sponsor or volunteer, is encouraged to send a message to

This year’s Straight River Art Festival is May 18, 9am to 5pm, at Heritage Park in Faribault, next to the Depot Restaurant. The event is free and open to the public. For more information, visit They can also be found on Instagram and Facebook.

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