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One Helluva Ride: Bike Poster Show ‘Artcrank’ Says Farewell

After 16 years of blending art and bikes, the worldwide 'poster party for bike people,' Artcrank announces its conclusion.

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“Every ride has an end.” A bittersweet message greeted the nearly 14,000 followers of Artcrank’s Instagram over the weekend, as the Minneapolis-based, grassroots, annual art exhibition announced it will end operation next month.

“We’ve had the most amazing adventure of a ride for 16 years, 80-some shows, and more than 2,000 posters,” the July 21 post read. “Thank you so much for supporting us through every mile.”

The show’s founder, Charles K. Youel, penned a brief epilogue to the post, calling the decision difficult, but the correct one to make.

“This has not been an easy decision and I know it’s not one that everyone’s going to like,” Youel wrote. “But I also know it’s the right one all the same.”

End of an Era: Artcrank Winds to a Close

Despite its humble beginnings in the art-hungry warehouses of Minneapolis’s bike-enthralled downtown, Artcrank quickly picked up speed and found demand — and opportunity — in cities around the country. At one point, the Artcrank crew managed 15 events in a single year. The show even reached the U.K. and has collaborated with the Parisian bike share Vélib’.

The premise was simple: Curate art from local artists, host a swanky, come-as-you-are exhibition, and show off an ever-changing run of limited-edition, bike-themed posters. Such an idea was all but a slam dunk for Minneapolis’s proud bike community, which attracted more than 500 people at its 2007 debut.

But word spread fast in the nascent social media era, and Artcrank found eager crowds in Austin, Chicago, New York, St. Louis, San Francisco, and more.

Local artists were hand-picked by the Artcrank team, and the final submissions represented every notion, emotion, expression, inspiration, and mind-bending experience relating to the bicycle.

What’s more, the show partnered with a cause organization that used bicycles to “make a difference in communities, help people live better lives, or just make the world a better place.”

What Happens Now?

Though the end is in sight, Artcrank said its mission has not changed. According to Youel, that means selling as much of the art as possible through the end of August.

After then, well, “the site is … a work in progress,” he wrote.

Shop all the remaining art while it lasts at Artcrank.com.

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