You are browsing an archived site for a previous Northern Spark event. To visit the current site click here.

You are browsing an archived site for a previous Northern Spark event. To visit the current site click here.

Northern Spark: a nuit blanche

Northern Spark is a new MN Festival modeled on a nuit blanche or “white night” festival—a dusk to dawn participatory art event along the Mississippi and surrounding areas. It will take place the evening of June 4 (sunset 8:55 pm) till the morning of June 5, 2011 (sunrise 5:28 am).

Northern Spark will include a diversity of art forms and projects including multi-story projections, audio environments with vistas, floating works on barges, houseboats and paddleboats, headphone concerts, and the use of everything from bioluminescent algae and sewer pipes for organs to more traditional media such as banjos and puppets.

There is magic in the night, when the familiar, like the city skyline, becomes majestic, and a starry sky can transport the imagination. One’s senses are heightened, attuned to the slightest noise or even the smell of the nearby river in a way that seems not so common in daylight. One’s regular bus ride or walking over the threshold of a building visited hundreds of times before becomes exotic and otherworldly at 3 am.

It is in this context that more than 200 artists are presenting 100 installations and performances for Northern Spark from the top of the Foshay Tower to boat rides along the Mississippi to light sculptures and projections to performances galore, including car horn and brass band fanfares, color guards, river dancing, sewer pipe organs, lullabies, and storytelling. Perusing this site will introduce you to the rich variety of offerings that will bloom for one night only. It is not our goal to take over the night like some giant big top tent, but to join it. We meet the city halfway. As you walk or ride a bike or take the bus from one venue to another, see and appreciate your surroundings with new eyes and ears. Celebrate one of the great rivers of the world through two magnificent cities and enjoy the next artistic intervention you come across. It’s an adventure. You make your own journey.

Participating Artists

Participating artists include: Ai Minnesota Students, Artifact Shore, Luke Axelson, Leslie Ball, Bridget Beck, Christopher Baker, Robert Bauer, Amelia Biewald, Philip Blackburn, The BodyCartography Project, Bart Buch, Jill Burchill, Calamity and the Owl, Charles Campbell, Chris Campbell, Jim Campbell, Jaime Carrera, Genevieve Chamberland, Christopher Charbonneau, Melinda Childs, Bryan Clendenen, Barbara Claussen, Como Avenue Jug Band, Corbian Visual Arts and Dance, Grant Cutler, Emily Darnell, Mike Davis, Daniel Dean, Dan Dressler, Pete Driessen, John Driscoll, Alex Dyba, Aaron Dysart, Terese Elhard, Heid Erdrich, Jan Estep, Chris Farstad, Sam Fuentes, Ben Garthus, Charles Gillett, Grace Minnesota, Will Grant, Solange Guillaume, Mike Haeg, Mike Hallenbeck, Malena Handeen, Lara Hanson, Nathan Hanson, Katie Hargrave, Todd Harper, Peter Henning, Alexa Horochowski, Wing Young Huie, Carrie Jennings, Mary Johnson, Peter L. Johnson, JoJo of Murals by Eros, Joe Kaercher, Gulgin Kayim, Chris Kallmyer, John Kamp, Mero Cocinero Karimi, Kalen Rainbow Keir, Sean Kelly-Pegg, Leslie Kelman, Layne Kennedy, John Kannenberg, Julie Kesti, Scott Kesti, Osman Khan, John Kim, Rachel Knoll, Suzanne Kosmalski, Bethany Lacktorin, Landland, Mina Leierwood, Amanda Lovelee, Emily Lynch, Dana Maiden, Meena Mangalvedhekar, Aaron Marx, Megan Mayer, MCAD Students, Peter McLarnan, Caly McMorrow, Megan Mertaugh, Debora Miller, MAW, Ali Momeni, Ben Moren, Michael Murnane, Levi Murphy, Joe Nagel, Christy Newell, Kaara Nilsson, The Notion Collective, Nostalgia, Pat Nunnelly, Mark O’Brien, Ryan Olcott (Food Team), Angela Olson, Erik Ostrom, Panelectric Cinema, Jack FX Pavlik, Chris Pennington, Ilana Percher, Peyton of House of Daskarone, Wang Ping, Bonnie J. Ploger, Liseli Polivka, Tom Poor Bear, Prairie Fire Lady Choir, Scott Puhl, Janaki Ranpura, Red76, Rigo 23, Brian Roessler, James Rojas, ROLU, Molly Roth, Andrew Saboe, Kate Saturday, Carissa Samaniego, Jenny Schmid, Davu Seru, Skewed Visions, Mona Smith, Angela Sprunger, Andrea Stanislav, Chris Strouth (Paris-1919), Andy Sturdevant, Piotr Szyhalski, Lauren Thorson, Amy Toscani, Anthony Tran, Trash Film Debauchery, Vasily Trubetskoy, Robert Two Bulls, U of M BFA Group, Eric Veldey, Vong Vang, Roman Verostko, Vortex Navigation Company, Anthony Warnick, David Wiggins, Diane Willow, Bobby Wilson, Sarah Wolbert, Jim Woodring, Works Progress, Liu Xuguang, Marcus Young, Chester Yourczek, Brad Zellar

Participating Organizations

All My Relations Arts, American Composer’s Forum, American Swedish Institute, Art Department at the University of Minnesota, Art Institutes International Minnesota, Art Shanty Projects, Beijing Film Academy, Black Dog Cafe + Wine Bar, Burnet Gallery at Le Meridien Chambers Minneapolis, CITYDESKSTUDIO, College of Visual Arts, Flint Hills International Children’s Festival, Forecast Public Art, Franklin Art Works, The Friends of Saint Paul Public Library, Great Water Brewing Company, Hennepin Energy Recovery Center, Highpoint Center for Printmaking, Intermedia Arts, Keys 4/4 Kids, Landmark Center, Le Meridien Chambers Minneapolis, Lorenz Bus Service, Macalester College, McNally Smith College of Music, McSweeney’s, Minneapolis College of Art and Design, Minneapolis Institute of Arts, Minneapolis Parks + Recreation, Minnesota Center for Book Arts, Minnesota Historical Society, Minnesota Museum of American Art,, Mpls Photo Center, Nice Ride Minnesota, Nomad World Pub, Northern, Northrop Concerts and Lectures, Public Art Saint Paul, Ordway Center for the Performing Arts, Rain Taxi Review of Books, Regis Center for Art, St. Anthony Falls Laboratory at the University of Minnesota College of Science & Engineering, Saint Paul Central Library, Schubert Club, Saint Anthony Falls Laboratory, Science Museum of Minnesota, The Soap Factory, Soo Visual Arts Center, Springboard for the Arts, The UpTake, US Army Corps of Engineers, W Minneapolis-The Foshay, Walker Art Center

Presented by

Northern Spark is directed and produced by Northern in collaboration with the Spark Festival and with the support of numerous participating organizations and institutions.

Supported by

This activity is made possible in part by a grant provided by the Minnesota State Arts Board, through an appropriation by the Minnesota State Legislature from the Minnesota arts and cultural heritage fund with money from the vote of the people of Minnesota on November 4, 2008.  Additional support provided by Saint Paul Cultural STAR Program, Minnesota Historical Society, Covanta Energy, City of Minneapolis, City of Saint Paul, The Saint Paul Hotel, Saint Paul River Centre, Red Stag Supperclub.


Northern is a roving, collaborative, interactive media-oriented, arts agency from the Twin Cities for the world. It presents innovative art in the public sphere, both physical and virtual, focusing on artists creatively using technology, both old and new, to engender new relations between audience and artwork and more broadly between citizenry and their built environment.