Young girl walking by wall with graffiti in New York
Young girl walking by wall with graffiti in New York

By Molly Butler

Putting together this week’s column, I was excited to see such a strong and varied collection of arts.

Live music, fiber art classes, visual arts, drumming and dance at the 49th Annual Mahkato Wacipi, art pop-ups; it’s great to see our community celebrate and promote the arts. Herbert Read said, “I believe that art is so much more significant than either economics or philosophy. It is the direct measure of man’s spiritual vision.” When we make art, we participate in mankind’s greatest achievement: consciousness and spirit.

There are forces in our society that would have us believe art is unnecessary or unproductive, and often those forces are holding the checkbook and tapping the timeclock. When schools cram the arts into measurable, graded activities, focusing more on output and production than the phenomenon of creativity, we are trained away from our natural inclination to make art. We forget that great art is only born from great cultures and that when we are unworthy of it, it does not appear.

Creativity and humanity are one in the same.

Art is not extra. It’s not optional. Art is a symptom of a healthy community. And a society that cannot appreciate, value, or hold space for the arts is not, in my mind, a society worth participating in.

We are so lucky, friends. We live in a community where art is alive. We are worthy of art. So, appreciate it. Love it. Fund and protect it. Get out there this weekend and celebrate the arts.


The 49th Annual Mahkato Wacipi will kick off this Friday at 7 p.m. with an in-person powwow, held at Dakota Wokiksuye Makoce (Land of Memories Park) in Mahkato, Minnesota. This annual gathering celebrates and honors tradition, ancestors and builds bridges between all nations. All tribes are welcome, and the community is invited. Entry is $7 and covers the entire weekend. Keep an eye on their Facebook or website for any Covid-19 related updates or changes.

Head to the 410 Project for the opening reception of But I Guess I’m Already There, a group exhibition exploring the notions of home, featuring works by Izel Vargas, Kathleen Hawkes, Alessandra Sulpy, James Wade, Rachel Cox and Jonathan Thunder. Stop by from 7-9 p.m. to meet the artists. The show will run through October 2nd.

Dave Pengra and Ron Arsenault will perform live from 6-8 p.m. at the Blue Boat in Mankato. TriniChad will be at Indian Island Winery in Janesville from 6-8:30 p.m. Sing along with B&B Karaoke at the Oleander Saloon on Riverfront in Mankato, beginning at 8 p.m.


The Grand Kabaret in New Ulm will host a Children’s Learn to Paint class! Instructor Rhonda Johnson will teach a step-by-step painting technique while allowing kiddos the freedom to make artwork of their own. Ages kindergarten and up are welcome; registration is required. Stick around for the adult Creating a Barn Board Painting Class! Participants will receive all the materials and instructions they need to bring home their very own beautiful fall design on repurposed barn wood.

It’s the best time of year to swing by the local farmer’s market. I’m stocking up on honey and some delicious fall veggies! Head to the Pumpkin Junction at Blue Sky Farms in Good Thunder for games, concessions, hayrides and more. The Little Green Wagon Pumpkin Patch is also open, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., with vendors and fun, and a magic show beginning at 11 a.m.! Perfect fall fun for the whole family. After their Fall Festival 5k beginning at 10:30 a.m., the Ney Nature Center in Henderson will host their Fall Festival, with wagon rides, a maze, games, crafts, exotic animals and more!

It’s time for the Old Town Art Fair Pop-Up! Head to the Coffee Hag from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. for live music and vendors. Musical guests will include Ben Scruggs, Mal Murphy, Stacy K, Onion Bun and more! Head to the Arts Center of St. Peter at 1 p.m. for Introduction to Spinning, taught by my friend, Jake Fee, who will show you how to turn raw sheep’s wool into a freshly spun ball of yarn! Spinning tools and raw fiber will be provided, but if you have your own, you’re welcome to bring them. Register here for this 16+ class.

Turn back the clock with the Loose Moose Saloon’s “Back in the Day” party! Dress up in your best 80s/90s hair and style and enjoy prizes, drink specials and tons of nostalgia, all while raising money for the American Cancer Society. The Odd Goods and Angry Waters will be the What’s Up Lounge in Mankato, doors opening at 8:30 p.m. This 21+ show will have a $5 cover.


Pair your wine two ways! Kelly Holland will be instructing Sunday Yoga & Brunch at Morgan Creek Vineyards in New Ulm. Practice yoga outdoors beneath the beautiful oak tree. If that’s not quite your speed, you can kick things up a notch with Box & Wine at Indian Island Winery in Janesville. Enjoy an upbeat 30-minute workout led by Farrell’s eXtreme Bodyshaping designed for all fitness levels and abilities. Register online and enjoy a glass of wine included with your ticket.

The Wine Café in Old Town Mankato will host an Art Pop-up on the patio from 4-7 p.m.! Enjoy music, cocktails and new featured artists. Catch the last day of the 49th annual Mahkato Wacipi, beginning at 1 p.m. on Sunday.

Join Bent River Outfitter for their Full Moon Float, beginning at 8 p.m. Paddle in the moonlight, beginning at the Red Jacket Valley Park. They’ll bring some food to grill, and you’re welcome to bring your own refreshments. Call or stop by Bent River Outfitter to register; the cost is $40 for participants ages 8 and up.

Bonus: You, yes you, the Artist

I believe everyone has in them the capacity to be an artist. It does not seem to be a matter of measurable skill or a disposition or personality trait. Creativity and humanity are one in the same. The happiest people I know are the ones who have their art almost unconsciously: the musicians, gardeners, carvers, knitters, who create naturally, without self-consciousness. It is as natural as breathing.

Ideally, each of us would have some sort of creative expression. It doesn’t need to hang in galleries or withstand criticism from “experts.” It’s not about production or dollar value. A person without art is like a person who refuses to eat vegetables or brush their teeth: eventually, disease is going to catch up.

You’re invited, as a human being, to participate in the tradition that’s been passed down since before cave drawings and crude pottery. You’re invited to create. You certainly don’t have to. But I sure recommend it.


Weekend High Notes is a regular feature by Molly Butler. Molly covers weekend events, live music, and culture in the Greater Mankato Area. Suggestions are welcome using the MankatoLIFE contact form.