Uptown Art Fair canceled for 2024, Hennepin Ave businesses frustrated

A longstanding summer tradition in the Uptown neighborhood of Minneapolis has been canceled in 2024.

"It is with profound regret that we must convey the decision made by the Executive Directors of the Uptown Association/Uptown Art Fair to cancel the 2024 Uptown Art Fair," an announcement sent to prospective vendors of the event says.

The communication went on to cite "careful deliberate consideration of various factors," such as the closure of Hennepin Avenue in different phases throughout the next two years.

"Despite exhaustive exploration of alternative locations, none could adequately preserve the integrity of the fair," the email says, while noting that vendor application fees will be refunded.

"This was a challenging decision, especially during the 60th anniversary of our event. However, we believe it is essential to be transparent with our artists, vendors, sponsors, and participants, acknowledging that we cannot meet their expectations for a world-class event under these circumstances," director Jill Osiecki said in a statement.

FOX 9 previously reported the two-year constriction project that will close long stretches of Hennepin Avenue – reducing lanes and increasing traffic throughout the process – has businesses in the area frustrated

"Everyone is kind of surprised, just talking to other businesses in the area, people weren’t really anticipating the scale of what was going to happen," Kyle Lee with Brim Restaurant told FOX 9. "I could definitely see people not wanting to come to the area quite as much, just because they might get backed up in traffic."

The cancelation of the 2024 Art Fair is likely to add to their concerns.

The Uptown Art Fair began in 1964 as a way to increase awareness of the arts while raising money for Uptown projects. In years past, it has attracted more than 300,000 people annually.

The fair had previously canceled events during a two-year stretch due to the pandemic and the civil unrest following the murder of George Floyd and the fatal shooting of Winston Smith in an Uptown parking ramp.

According to the event’s website, the art fair was originally planned for Aug. 2-4, 2024.

As a result of the cancelation, "The Uptown Art Experience" will span the entire summer, featuring immersive art installations, pop-up events, a public art competition, and more, throughout Uptown, the announcement said.