Northern Newsletter – August 10, 2017

Sarah Peters

Join us in Jamestown

On August 24, Northern staff will settle in for the 327 mile drive to Jamestown, North Dakota to participate in the culmination a three year collaboration. The new Hansen Arts Park in downtown Jamestown is the result of many years of planning, fundraising and community engagement led by the Jamestown Art Center in consultation with Northern The new park features landscaping and accessible pathways, artist-made mosaic benches, ample space for events, and the permanent Boulder Pavilion.

ArtSpark will jumpstart the park as a community space with a full, two-day schedule of happenings including musical performances, fire dancers, a fashion show, topiary demonstrations and even a living sculpture competition among others. Two of the Minnesota-based artist projects traveling to Jamestown are reaching out to the community to invite participation through food and fabric:

Emily Stover and Molly Balcom Raleigh are working with local coordinators to invite area residents to share recipes and tell stories of their food heritage in the Dumpling House.

Nickey Robare and Rachel Breen are looking for sewists to work in the re-creation of their pop-up garment factory Behind the Seams to instigate conversation on where and how our clothes are made.

Do you know any tailors or quilters or makers of ravioli, potstickers or momos in the Jamestown area?  Be in touch! Drop a line at

Preston Drum and Michael Murnane will also be presenting work.

If you go:

Friday, August 25, 4:45 pm – 12 am
Saturday, August 26, 9 am – 12 am
Jamestown Art Center, 115 2nd Street SW, Jamestown, North Dakota

More info on the Facebook event.

Test illuminating the Lock

Light test with Aaron Dysart at Upper St. Anthony Falls Lock and Dam. Photo by Joni Van Bockel.

On a night in late July Aaron Dysart and lighting designer Kyle Waites hauled a great deal of technical equipment up the tiny elevator at the Upper St. Anthony Falls Lock and Dam. They ran incredible lengths of cabling around the Lock’s 400 x 56 ft dimensions, affixed theatrical lighting to railings and slowly lowered a fog machine secured by ropes into the chamber’s 49 ft depth. As the sun set, the fog machine slowly dispersed a haze into chamber. Washes of purple and blue light rotated through this wispy atmosphere. By the time the sky was fully dark, the lock had taken on an otherworldly quality.

Surface is the first of two experimental projection projects taking place this September as part of program called Illuminate the Lock. A goal of these projects is to learn the technical capacities of this unique space and to demonstrate artistic uses for infrastructure no longer used for river navigation. How might artists re-imagine this space? What other stories can be told there?

Save the dates to experience Dysart’s Surface on September 15 & 16 and Andrea Carlson’s The Uncompromising Hand on September 29 & 30.

Illuminate the Lock is presented by Northern, Mississippi Park Connection, the National ParkService with support from St. Anthony Falls Heritage Board and the US Army Corp of Engineers. Dysart’s presentation is also part of Here and There presented by The Soap Factory.

Duck Duck What?

Robin Schwartzman, Duck, Duck, What? concept sketch

Each month between now and February, we will feature one or more of the projects we are presenting January 26 – February 4, 2018 in Bloomington’s South Loop in collaboration with the City of Bloomington and its nonprofit partner Artistry’s creative placemaking efforts.

Did you know that Minnesotans are the only people in the United States who play the childhood game Duck Duck Gray Duck? Apparently, the rest of the world plays Duck Duck Goose. Go figure. In honor of this unique heritage, Robin Schwartzman is giving visitors and residents alike the opportunity to vote on the game they remember playing with an interactive billboard. Who will win Duck Duck What?

Robin Schwartzman, who has a love of wordplay and a wonderfully pop visual sensibility, has created numerous memorable public art projects, including Think and Wonder, Wonder and Think for Northern Spark 2012, Minnesotan Ice for Northern Spark 2016, and numerous mini-golf holes around the country.

Thank you Soap Factory!

After a year of co-working with the staff of  The Soap Factory, we have moved out of their building to make room as they prepare for an exciting renovation!  We extend a huge thank you to the staff and board of the Soap for sharing space with us and making room for the necessary mess of signage, projectors, cabling, gaylords of water bottles, and large meetings that enable Northern Spark and our other programs to happen. We truly appreciate their generosity.

In the meantime, you may see us around town working at coffee shops and libraries. We are looking for a temporary office home — if you have space to share or ideas, let us know!

And don’t worry, for you AOV fans, Art(ists) on the Verge 9 will be back at the new Soap Factory in May 2018!

Projects we like

Image: African Economic Development Solutions

Little Africa Festthe annual festival of African art and culture organized by Northern Spark 2017 partner African Economic Development Solutions is coming up! On Saturday, August 19, 2-8 pm, hang out in St. Paul’s Hamline Park for a chill afternoon and evening of African music, dancing, food and artisan vendors.

Art(ists) on the Verge 7 fellow Liza Sylvestre takes a break from her MFA program to put up this multi-media exhibition at SOOVAC.  On view through August 26th.

Internationally acclaimed artist and Northern Spark 2014 participating artist HOTTEA has transformed the Atrium space at the North entrance of Mall of America with his largest yarn installation ever. On view through October 31.