Northern Spark and Little Africa Festival 2018


Summary: Northern Spark and Little Africa Festival 2018

This year we are excited to announce a partnership with African Economic Development Solutions in St. Paul for a commissioned project that will be presented at Northern Spark on June 15-16 and again at the Little Africa Festival on August 18, 2018.

Because of the dual venues for the commissioned project, it should “work” both at night, during Northern Spark, and during the day at Little Africa Festival, which runs from noon – 9 pm.

Submission link is here.

Artwork in any medium

We invite you to propose a project for this call in any medium that can be sited/performed at night for Northern Spark and during the day at Little Africa Festival.  This project can take place in any of Northern Spark’s 2018 venues: The Commons, Nicollet Mall between 4th and 8th, and inside the Minneapolis Central Library. We encourage you to propose projects that put your work into the festivals’ nooks, crannies, and surfaces, and take advantage of different sites, times of day, and audiences.


This call is for an individual artist, or a team of artists, of African heritage. In the application, the artist(s) are asked to describe their “cultural connection” to Little Africa and why/how it is meaningful in their own words. Artists do not have to live in or near Little Africa. Emerging artists are encouraged to apply.

About Little Africa

Little Africa is a business, arts and culture district in Hamline-Midway neighborhood in St. Paul with a high concentration of African-owned businesses along Snelling Avenue, bordered by University Avenue and Minnehaha Avenue. Little Africa is known for its diversity of African cultures through public arts events, murals, and the annual summertime Little Africa festival. When developing a proposal for this commission, please consider both the Northern Spark theme of commonality and the thematic heart of the district: the experience of African immigrants and people of African heritage, cultural identity, movement and migration.

About Little Africa Festival

The Fifth Annual Little Africa Festival is a free, family-friendly summertime event that takes place every August, bringing in crowds of hundreds to celebrate the diversity of African cultures in the heart of St. Paul. Taking place at Hamline Park on Snelling Avenue, the festival features African performance artists, musicians, dancers, storytellers, and more, as well as African cuisines and vendors selling authentic African jewelry, clothing and crafts.

In 2018, the Little Africa Festival will be preceded by a national two-day conference to engage the community on issues impacting the African diaspora through the lens of arts, culture, and economic development.

Follow/Like AEDS (@AfricanEDS) and Little Africa (@LittleAfricaMN) to continue to get updates on the 5th Annual Little Africa Festival, and AEDS’ first ever conference!

Submission form

Online at Submittable here.

View our complete list of Northern Spark calls here. See our complete list of Northern Artist Opportunities here.

Info Sessions

Info Sessions for artists interested in submitting proposals for any of Northern Spark’s calls will include a a walk-through of the open call process with tips for more successful submissions. Workshops will be located in Little Africa and the Hennepin County Library.  

In Little Africa:
Tuesday, January 9, 6:30 – 7:30 pm. 

At Ghebre’s Restaurant: 512 Snelling Ave, St Paul, MN 55104

At Minneapolis Central Library: 
Wednesday, January 10, 6:30 – 8 pm 
Tuesday, January 16, 6:30 – 8 pm
300 Nicollet Mall, Minneapolis


The commissioning fee for this project is $6,000.

This includes presentation both nights of Northern Spark and during the day of the Little Africa Festival. Budgets should include everything necessary to present the project from construction to installation and artist fees. NL will provide electricity and standard permitting, although some elements such as fire and food may have additional permitting costs.

Selection Process

This call will be juried and selected by the Little Africa Artist Advisory Board and Northern Spark Co-Directors, which reserve the right to request additional material and information after the proposal deadline, and to reject any and all proposals received.

Submission link is here