Calling all art fanatics! Stillwater, Minnesota has an abundance of art sprinkled throughout the town. From sculpture to murals to beautiful utility boxes, we’ve got it all. Everything is free and available to the public so come visit and experience the creativity, but make sure to keep an eye out because if you’re not actively looking for some of the pieces it’s easy to miss them!
Stillwater has numerous frequently photographed murals. While some are more well known than others, all the murals in town are undoubtedly worth seeing. Most of the artworks are on walls on side streets off Main Street, but there are a few dispersed in alleyways or hidden on the backsides of businesses that bring color to quiet areas.
Arguably the two most popular murals in town are the ones pictured above. The painting on the left is of a scene of a major log jam in 1884. Stillwater once played a large part in the lumber industry so this image perfectly pays tribute to how the town began. The mural is located on Myrtle Street on the wall of River Bank Gifts. It was created by Randall Raduenz and his assistant Mary McElery in 2007.
The painting on the right is based on a photo from 1931. The piece shows the old pontoon bridge that had tragically burned down along with the new lift bridge being built . An old popcorn cart and colorful garments were added to represent the time period. This mural was also done by Randall Raduenz along with his daughter Jamie in 2015. It can be found in the parking lot next to Candyland and is a popular backdrop for photoshoots.
While these murals are largely favored, there are many more all around Stillwater. The walls of the Grand are lined with old paintings advertising brands and businesses that have clearly endured many Midwest winters. Even the public restroom next to Valley Bookseller is decorated with an image of a loon and some fish. Head out on the town and admire the detail in these projects!
River City Sculpture Tour:
Looking for a fun and easy art related activity along Main Street? The River City Sculpture Tour is perfect for you! The free ongoing exhibit of public art started in 2016 and features original outdoor sculpture. Seven pieces by five artists are included in the tour that begins just outside of Darn Knit Anyway at 423 Main Street S. Each sculpture is placed with a plaque that names the piece and its artists along with a map of where each sculpture is located. Have fun and stop in some shops while you’re walking the tour!
Beginning in 2018 and funded by the Stillwater Area Foundation’s Grant Idea, a project of transforming utility boxes was led by Fitzie Heimdahl. The idea was to turn something unattractive into something beautiful. A total of 15 utility boxes were decorated by 11 artists. The boxes are located along the river in historic downtown Stillwater and Marine on St. Croix. While unknown to even some locals, these hidden gems add a touch of charm to the towns. Make it a date and see how many you can find!
Union Art Alley:
Now open — the new home to five artworks by local artists — Union Art Alley is a big hit. Committee chairs Sara Jespersen of The Lumberjack and Heather Rutledge of ArtReach St. Croix have spearheaded the project of turning a once underutilized and vandalized alley into a mural museum with patio seating. The theme for the installations is joy in gathering which is meant to represent what this new space will bring to the community. Come view this new attraction in Union Alley just a half block west of Main Street. For information about the artists, visit: Union Art Alley
While the Stillwater Public Library houses art pieces throughout the entire building, it also has an actual gallery within its walls. The exhibit changes every two months and features the work of contemporary area artists. The gallery is located on the upper level of the library at 224 Third Street N and open to everyone for free. For information on the current artist visit: Stillwater Public Library Gallery
ArtReach St. Croix’s Royal Credit Union Foundation Gallery hosts visual arts shows that feature work from artists from anywhere in the country in rotating exhibits. The exhibits stay in the gallery for around a month and are accompanied by artist talks by each of the artists featured. For information on the current exhibits and artists, visit: ArtReach St. Croix
An admirer of the arts that is also looking to decorate their space? Stillwater is home to a couple shops that may have what you’re looking for.
Stillwater Art Guild Gallery located in the historic Isaac Staples Sawmill at 402 Main Street N, contains a variety of media and styles. While over 90 artists share their work through the gallery, the current featured artists are all from the area and use the space to display and sell their work. This store is sure to have something that catches your eye!
Gallery St Croix features work from artists Deneena Hughes, Cece Thorpe, and Nanci Fulmek. The exhibit is located in suite #9 of the Grand Garage building at 324 Main Street S. The three artists display paintings of mixed media and style on their walls. If you’re lucky you may catch one of them painting live in the gallery!
Galeria Saro is a gallery shop located at 213 Main Street S. It has artfully arranged walls full of colorful fine art and prints and shelves stocked with handcrafted pottery and wood sculptures by local craftsmen. This shop will provides a calm atmosphere to browse and enjoy local art.
Smith + Trade Mercantile is a shared workspace that provides artisans the opportunity to jumpstart their business and build their brand. Showcasing curated and handcrafted goods from regional artists while providing a retail brick and mortar experience, they also host classes and events. Located in the heart of downtown at 229 Main Street S, this store will give you the homemade feel you may be looking for!
Locale Makers Market is a new business in Stillwater located in the Grand Garage at 324 Main Street S in suite #13. It sells a variety of handcrafted goods such as clothing, greeting cards, glassware, home decor, and prints. Stop in and see what unique items they have to offer.
Art N Soul/Stillwater Beads is a gift shop located at 202 Main Street S. It specializes in handmade jewelry made with beads and crystals, while also featuring a full crystal shop downstairs. If you’re into being creative and bold with your accessories, check out this shop!
Looking for an opportunity to have your own personal experience creating art? The following businesses offer classes and events for you to express your creativity!
Kari’s Create & Paint Studio – Pottery and canvas painting
Marquess Studios – Jewelry design
Carpe Noctem Candle Co. – Pour your own candle
Studio Louise Flowers – Floral design
Smith + Trade Mercantile – Watercolor, print-making, rock painting
Darn Knit Anyway – Crochet, embroidery, felt, knit
Off The Wall Studio – Drawing, painting, beadwork, etc.
Looking for a place to stay when you come visit to see all the art? Check out lodging options here.