This is an open call for up to 10 projects in any medium for Northern Spark. Application deadline: February 27, 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.

What Are We Looking For?

The theme of Northern Spark in 2012 is “Think and Wonder.” We are looking for projects that are sited/performed in public space and engage a broad public audience in that space. Projects can be in any medium or discipline. Look at the project line up for Northern Spark in 2011 to see the wide range of works presented.

What Else Are We Looking For?

While none of the following are strict requirements, they are each important factors in making our decisions.

  • Artistic quality. Northern Spark is committed to supporting the work of artists. The proposed work can be serious or funny, spectacular or intimate, high or low, or any combination thereof, but we are not a trade fair.
  • Participatory. Not all projects will have a direct participation component, but our goal is that a significant percentage will.
  • Location. While we will consider projects “anywhere,” we are especially interested in projects that add to the density of the public experience at key venues within the Zones identified on the Northern Spark website, especially around the Stone Arch Bridge and Loring Park in Minneapolis, and Rice Park and Upper Landing Park in Saint Paul . The use of any private or out-of-scope venues must be cleared in advance by the artist.
  • Mobile/Pop up. We’re interested in at least some – not all – projects that are mobile and/or have a light footprint and can be “installed” in a few locations during the night.
  • Crowded. Depending on the nature and placement of your project, there may be very large crowds to appreciate it. How does your proposal account for this?
  • Accessible. As a public arts event, there will be a broad audience and often a large audience. How does your proposal account for this?
  • Duration. One of the distinctive aspects of Northern Spark is its duration. Does your project take advantage of this?
  • Nighttime. Another distinctive aspect.
  • Feasibility. You only have 513 minutes. Make sure your project is feasible and impactful and that we understand how.


This year, rather than a one-size-fits all honorarium, we are putting a ceiling on proposed project budgets: $2,500. Not all projects will require this, and we will be consciously selecting a range of project budgets.

Other Resources

Northern Spark will provide the following to the selected project(s):

  • Production advice
  • Permitting and insurance as reasonable, appropriate and possible
  • Marketing and promotion
  • Free transportation to and from major venues


Application materials

The application process is entirely online. Applicants are required to submit:

  • Primary contact information
  • Proposal concept – (max 1 page, pdf)
  • Supporting materials, such as site diagrams, including technical specifications – (max 2 pages, pdf)
  • Documentation of work: title/medium/date/credits/description with links to no more than 10 images and 1 video of past, preferably related work – (max 1 page, pdf)
  • A budget that fits within the parameters of the grant and/or clearly identifies and confirms additional resources (max 1 page, pdf)
  • A brief bio and CV (max 1 page for each primary participant, pdf)


This call will be juried by Northern

Application submission

**Application deadline, 11:59 pm February 27, 2012**
Post your submission here.


Artists with selected project(s) will be informed by March 9, 2012. Please note that commissions are dependent on successful funding.


Email with any questions. Responses will be added to the Open Call FAQ



image Jerome Foundation Minneapolis College of Art and Design