Art show celebrates 20th year

The 9 Friends Art Show, now in its 20th year, will return again to Gale Woods Farm on Nov. 21 and 22.

Organizer Lois Murphy has put this gathering of artists together since the event’s beginning and she continues to focus on making sure the small show has a big impact. Named after the nine original artist at the inaugural event in 1985, the show has always been centered on creating a positive, relaxed atmosphere.

“When we started, it was in Tonka Bay,” Murphy said. “We decided to have an art show — those of us who were brave and bold.”

“In addition, it would be an opportunity to bring local and regional artists together in the west metro in a more ‘user friendly’ atmosphere,” Murphy said.

“Back then, the only kinds of things you had that were like that were sometimes you’d have boutiques at Christmas…you wouldn’t have any art shows,” Murphy said. “So, it’s really unique.”

Because of this uniqueness, the first show drew quite a crowd.

“It was really fun,” she noted. “It sort of sticks with you and you want to do it again.”

Murphy has been involved the entire 20 years and is the last one still involved of the original nine friends who put on the first show.

With 25 artists involved in this year’s show, it’s grown beyond the first nine artists involved. But, keeping the show small and refined is important for Murphy.

“A lot of these people have been around for a long time,” Murphy said. “They’ve been making their craft for many years.”

She selects the artists, who have to be invited to show, based on visits to art shows throughout the summer season. “It’s more important to me to actually see their artwork and see what it looks like when they’re in an art show situation.”

However, the venue for this show is different from what many of the artists may have experienced in various shows over the summer. For starters, the show is indoors at the Gale Woods Farm pavilion. Artists for the show come from both the Twin Cities metro area and greater Minnesota and are on hand to discuss their work.

“My job is to make sure that we have a beautiful place, that we have everything we possibly can to make the artists happy with being there,” Murphy said.

The goal is that comfortable and at ease artists will produce an show environment that welcomes customers.

“This is basically an artist’s show,” she added. “It’s a really interesting, kind of relaxed art show.”

“This is a show that is a destination,” she added.

Because the show is indoors, it’s not subject to weather concerns.

“This is such an easy art show to visit,” Murphy said. “You don’t have to walk very far to get in the door, it’s handicap accessible.”

Plus, there’s cookies and coffee.

The show will feature 25 artists, working in areas such as pottery, glass, jewelry, textiles, photography, soap, granite and more.

Each artist has their own story of why they got into their craft. Murphy is a photographer and besides organizing the show, she also participates.

“Amy (Brooks) started making soap because she had leukemia and soap was bad for her skin. So, she started making her own,” Murphy explained.

Now Brooks makes a variety of natural soaps through Bubbles by Brooks.
For Murphy, the more of the shows that she’s organized, the more fun it is.

“I thought that if I ever got to 20, that would be amazing,” Murphy said. “I’ll just keep going as long as I can, as long as it’s still fun.”

The 9 Friends Art Show will be held at Gale Woods Farm Nov. 21 from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. and Nov. 22 from 9:30 to 3 p.m. More info can be found at:

Contact Katie Morford at [email protected]