Art Spotlight

Fun for car-haters and car-lovers: a July 4th party on the Midtown Greenway

There are people in Minneapolis who don’t own cars, and are joyfully self-righteous about it. These are the people who love the Midtown Greenway, running just north of Lake Street, which allows them a new motorless path unto themselves for getting crosstown. And Intermedia Arts, 2822 Lyndale Ave. S., has a Greenway-based party, the Parade of Arts, for these people on the 4th of July.

Then there are those like myself, who grew up expecting to drive for the rest of our lives, who try to stay off the freeways, and try alternative methods of transport whenever it comes to mind (which is never) and who rue the fact that we have to get in the car every day to get to what we do. We aren’t happy about it, but we are confirmed Car Culture people.

Intermedia has a celebration for us too -- the Art Car Parade, where all styles of autos are turned into rolling works of art. The parade is an ironic, sarcastic explosion of joyful acquiescence -- again, on the Fourth of July.

The combination is a sprawling community festival of live performance, live art and live creativity on and near the newly alive Greenway. And you can join in at any of the nine-count-em nine destinations that include performance stages, galleries and places for making your own art.

Festivities kick off at 1 p.m. with the eighth annual Art Car Parade (formerly Wheels As Art), featuring art cars, bikes and anything on wheels (including wheelchairs). Past treasures have included a car covered in cork, another decorated with a replica of the Bayeaux Tapestry (recounting the Norman invasion of England in 1066 A.D.) and a third with more attached rhinestones than you can shake a glue stick at.

This dazzler of a parade rolls east on Lake Street from Lyndale to 5th Avenue South, giving gawkers the opportunity to see decorated cars, bikes, shopping carts, roller blades, and anything else on wheels. This year, there will be a contingent of Wheelchairs as Art from Interact Visual Arts, an art studio for people with disabilities, who have been building theirs in the studio for a massive presence.

Parade-goers can participate by dressing up their wheels (bikes, skateboards, wheelchairs, whatever) and joining the parade at Lake and Aldrich Avenue South.

After the Parade, go down to the newly renovated Midtown Greenway to enjoy live music, performance, hands-on intergenerational activities, food, beverages until 6 p.m. (Even the car-o-phobic will appreciate the Art Cars that will also be on display.) And while you are down there, watch the Art Bike parade cruising down the Greenway, starting at 4 p.m.

Thursday July 4, 1-6 p.m., Lake and Lyndale and the Midtown Greenway, which runs near 29th Street. Free. 874-2815 or