Meeting the city halfway


Welcome to the inaugural Northern Spark, a free, all-night festival of public art and performances taking place outdoors and indoors in both Minneapolis and Saint Paul from sundown to sunrise.

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.

Imagining Northern Spark. Maquette and photography by Rasun Mehringer. Design: Matthew Rezac

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 the festival program (PDF) 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.

Northern Spark is presented by Northern, but it would not be possible without the amazing work of the artists, the generous participation of more than 50 organizations, a talented staff, and the steadfast support of our sponsors, including the people of Minnesota through funding from the Legacy Amendment. Thank you.

Steve Dietz
Artistic Director, Northern Spark
President and Artistic Director, Northern