Northern Spark 2018 Artist Open Calls

Sarah Peters

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Northern Spark 2018 Artist Open Calls

Northern announces 5 different calls for funded art projects at Northern Spark 2018.

Submission deadline for all Northern Spark proposals is February 5, 2018. See each call for links to the submission form.

About Northern Spark 2018

Theme: Commonality

The 2018 theme of commonality takes its cue from its venues: The Commons, the Minneapolis Central Library and Nicollet Mall. What is a 21st century commons? A 21st century library that serves everyone? A pedestrian friendly avenue that is friendly to anyone?

At a time when the darkest parts of our collective identity surface daily in public forms — overt racism, no-big-deal sexism, challenges to our rights to free speech, policies that fly in the face of climate science — we at Northern are committed to providing platforms that resist these ideas, that open dialogue and create relationships. What do we have in common? More specifically in the context of Northern Spark, what do we share when we gather together in physical space?

We recognize this is a difficult and maybe even dangerous question. Too many times, appeals to the “common good” are just calls to support the established order gussied up as unquestioning patriotism. Don’t kneel because it disrespects. All Lives Matter. Don’t rock the boat.

Is it possible to share common ideals and goals while acknowledging significant differences in heritage, lifestyle, income and interest?  What do we have in common in a city with significant racial disparities in employment, education and other markers of well-being? Can there ever be common ground on land that was colonized? And what do these questions mean for Downtown Minneapolis – one neighborhood in the midst of many in our metropolis?

We dream of dynamic, shared spaces. A Commons that is available to everyone for collective and individual purpose.

We dream of information as an inalienable, human right. A Library that preserves the past stories of everyone as context for a future that embraces anyone.

We dream of a city center that is a vibrant meeting place of diverse goods and services and ideas beyond what we can even imagine.

What are your dreams for the future that we can have in common?

We invite you, the creative sector, to explore through installation and programming how artists and their art can help activate The Commons, Minneapolis Central Library and Nicollet Mall as sites of commonality.


The primary venues for Northern Spark 2018 are:

Dates and Times

In 2018, Northern Spark will take place over two nights, the third weekend in June only until 2 am:

  • Friday, June 15, from 9:02 pm to 2 am
  • Saturday, June 16, from 9:02 pm to 2 am

We are experimenting with this new structure primarily to ensure that the effort artists put into their projects is not washed out by increasingly volatile weather. Unless otherwise stated, all projects must take place in full on both nights. Northern will provide overnight security for installations, but valuable parts of any installation should be removable or securely mounted.

Tips and Requirements for Applying to Northern Spark

Apply to Northern Spark in 4 Easy Steps

The best way to start an application process is to review the details of the call you are interested in:

You can also review the Application Materials and Selection Criteria that we use to evaluate your proposals at: Tips and Requirements for Applying to Northern Spark

Info Sessions

Find out more about these calls and ask specific questions about your ideas at these public information sessions. It’s not a requirement to submit a proposal, but it’s a good idea.

January 9 Info Session: Northern Spark and Little Africa

January 10 Open Calls Info Session: At Minneapolis Central Library

January 16 Open Calls Info Session: At Minneapolis Central Library


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