Northern Spark 2012

What Is Northern Spark?

Northern Spark is a free, dusk to dawn, participatory arts festival that presents visual arts, performance, films, and interactive media indoors and outdoors in both Minneapolis and St. Paul. In 2011, during the course of one night, there were 50,000 visits to 100 projects by more than 200 artists at 34 venues in collaboration with 60 partner organizations and sponsors. Explore a constellation of urban arts and discover the city in a new light. In 2012, Northern Spark takes place from dusk, Saturday, June 9, to dawn, Sunday, June 10.

Think and Wonder

From the creative economy to the rise of the creative class to the creative city to “the MFA is the new MBA,” we are not lacking for punditry about creativity.

Northern Spark is a celebration in action of the creativity of artists and the creative programming of cultural organizations. 


Robin Schwartzman, THINK AND WONDER, WONDER AND THINK, artist rendering.

In the inimitable words of Theodor Geisel, aka Dr. Seuss, all this creativity makes one think and wonder, wonder and think.  Precisely the theme of Northern Spark in 2012.

Northern Spark is about transformation

It is about seeing the city in a new light. It’s about making the place where you live a place you want to be,  not where you return after being inspired somewhere else.  It is about the creative intersection of art and science and technology and engineering and design and urban planning and nature and culture. It is about the power of artists to make us think and wonder.

Debora Miller, <i>MURMUR</i>, Northern Spark, 2011

Debora Miller, <i>MURMUR</i>, Northern Spark, 2011

As one attendee wrote:

“There were so many beautiful interactions that I had with the city and her art, but the part that I never expected was walking back to my car across the stone arch bridge, sun rising over the smoke stacks of the power plant, and the city was slowly waking up around me. The river was inexorably making her way to NOLA, and I stopped and realized how amazing the little apple is. I have been here for ten years and never have I experienced her in such a way before. It was our little secret. The river, the little apple and me. a magical night!”

Northern Spark is a catalyst

To see something new in the commonplace. To explore the city after hours. To visit an institution for the first time. To make something for thousands of people. To participate with thousands of people in a movable feast. To think of what to make and share next year.

As another attendee wrote:

“This event has tremendous opportunity to become a signature summer event for Minneapolis, much like the White Nights in St. Petersburg, Nuit Blanche in Paris or Fete des Lumieres in Lyons. There was fantastic energy on the Stone Arch Bridge — you could tell people were loving the strolling and being outside on such a beautiful night and craving artistic inspiration.”

We invite you to come and think and wonder and wonder and think from sunset on June 9 to sunrise on June 10. Come and see your city differently for the rest of the year.

Northern Spark Links



image Jerome Foundation Minneapolis College of Art and Design