Northern Spark 2019-Communications Festival Apprentice

Teeko Yang

Northern Spark 2019-Communications Festival Apprentice

Northern Lights supports artists in the creation and presentation of art in the public sphere, focusing on innovative uses of technology to imagine new interactions between audience, artwork and place and explore expanded possibilities for civic engagement.

Our largest program is Northern Spark, a free, annual, late-night, multidisciplinary arts festival that takes place in June and draws tens of thousands of Minnesotans each year. In collaboration with arts organizations and community partners, we turn the city into a surprising arts experience.  For more information about Northern, visit our website:  For more information about Northern Spark, visit

In 2019 Northern Spark takes place in three neighborhoods: Downtown East (Minneapolis) in The Commons, American Indian Cultural Corridor (Minneapolis) along Franklin Ave., and Rondo (St. Paul) at Hallie Q. Brown Community Center. The apprentice positions seek applicants with strong cultural ties to the latter of these two neighborhoods.

Since 2011, Northern Spark has created a spirit of adventure and belonging, with the help of hundreds of artists and community partners. The goal of the apprentice program is to share the systems we’ve built over the years, and to foster an exchange of skills and community knowledge in the neighborhoods where the festival is taking place. Festival apprentices get an inside view at how a large public event comes to be, as part of a dynamic team that works together to produce this beloved event. 

For this year’s Apprentice Positions we are looking for candidates with cultural connections and community involvement in the Rondo neighborhood of St. Paul and the American Indian Cultural Corridor in Minneapolis.

DEADLINE FOR APPLICATIONS: Friday, January 11, 2019.

To apply, please submit a resume and cover letter online here.
Questions? email 


Job Description: Communications Festival Apprentice

The Communications Apprentice works with festival Co-Director and other contract staff to learn the ins and out of public communications about Northern Spark, including social media, e-newsletters, press releases, and printed content.  

The Communications Apprentice is responsible for helping to maintain a lively social media presence for Northern Spark and some other Northern projects, and assisting with e-newsletter communications.  

The right candidate has a familiarity with social media platforms and trends, an interest in writing about art and a curiosity about how to communicate a festival planning process and wide-ranging set of artists’ ideas to the public.

Stipend: $5,000
Estimated hours: 10 hrs/week with some additional hours the week of the festival
Duration: January through June 30, 2019
Reports to: Director of Public Engagement/Co-Director

Core areas of learning and responsibilities include:

  • Working with Co-Director to create and maintain a 6-month communications plan for Northern Spark (Jan – June 30) including e-newsletters, press releases and social media: Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, flickr, Vimeo, and the Northern blog.
  • Crafting and scheduling weekly and then daily posts on NL’s social media channels according to the communications plan  
  • Maintaining communications with followers of social media channels.
  • Tracking posts performance
  • Creating and executing a social media plan for the two festival nights that engages festival goers and expands NL’s network
  • Working with MailChimp to layout, edit, send and track monthly e-newsletters
  • Writing short articles for e-newsletter as assigned
  • Reviewing press releases with Co-Director and PR Coordinator

Required Meetings and Events

  • Attend bi-weekly Northern Spark staff meetings
  • Attend monthly Program Council meetings (March, April, May)
  • Attend Artist and Partner Kick Off meeting (February)
  • Attend Final Production Meeting and Press Preview (May)
  • Attend and work Northern Spark, June 14 & 15, 9 pm – 2 am

Required skills: Great written and verbal communication skills, self-motivated and able to meet changing deadlines. Knowledge of social media platforms and trends. Previous experience successfully managing a significant social media campaign is desirable but not necessary. Knowledge of Mailchimp desirable but not necessary.

Required availability: Weekday schedule to be determined with supervisor. Must be available Wednesdays from 2-3:30 pm for staff meetings. Some evening and weekend availability is necessary.

Must be available to work all hours of both festival nights.

Required equipment: Own computer and internet access when not in the NL office.  

Download the job description here.