It’s always a surprise to see what modern and emerging artists can create at these converted Old Market warehouses. The two buildings house 36 artists from around the world each year, with rotating exhibitions and auctions to showcase new work. Among the best surprises in 2012: A rainbow would periodically arc across the rooftop, made possible by collecting about 4,000 gallons of rainwater for the 20-minute show of color. It merged out-of-the-box artistic vision (and creative plumbing) with the science of atmosphere and weather.
It’s that kind of nontraditional art that pops up in Bemis’ three floors of studios and workspaces, which hosts up to 13 artists at a time. Each has three months of time, space and a monthly stipend to allow them to focus on their work. You might find a painter from Japan or an American building a stage set that playfully skews perspective for a film she’s making. On the former loading dock outside, a picnic table seems to flow over the railing and melt down its side. Indoors, there are usually two galleries on the main floor with art from sculpture to paintings, along with an underground gallery that mostly shows regional artists from South Dakota, Iowa and Nebraska. It's open Tuesday through Saturday and definitely worth a visit.