Minnevangelist: Michelle Courtright founded Walrus after closing her plant-based restaurant, @figfarro, last May. While the Twin Cities are blessed with great art galleries and festivals (Art-A-Whirl, say what?), Courtright felt there was something missing from the scene: an affordable art boutique. Something that both atmospherically and price-wise would feel accessible to newer collectors—or anyone seeking something magical to hang on their wall.
She scouted the perfect space to bring her vision to life: a turreted machine repair building in Camden. Erected in 1894, it has high ceilings, exposed beams, and original wood floors. Courtright dolled it up by adding a chandelier and painting the old brick fireplace a cool matte black.
Her curation focuses on wall art (hence the name Walrus) and includes original works, limited-edition prints, and a smattering of vintage pieces, much of which is already framed. There’s something for every price point, with 45 artists currently represented. Even better—10 percent of the shop’s net profits are being donated to @jxta_arts, a teen-staffed art and design center in North Minneapolis.
We stopped by yesterday and weren’t sure where to look first: There were statement paintings by @hilarygreensteinart, @thaddeus.lheureux, @the.beatnik, @sarahnicolexxo, and @lindseycherekwaller; VOTE posters by @maiyaleaart; emotive photography from @stephaniesunberg; moody illustrations from @jaredgraytuttle; and subversive cross-stitches by Youa and Wone Vang of @3drdcrafts. Ultimately, we landed on a monochromatic ink and watercolor piece by gallery coordinator Madison Rubenstein (@_rubenstein).
Walrus is open Thursday to Saturday, 11am-6pm, and Sunday from 11am-4pm, or you can book a private viewing for a $5 deposit. Masks are required, except when sipping complimentary tea or rosé. And if you have a suggestion for local artists you think Walrus should carry, Courtright is all ears. This is about the community after all.