Northern Spark 2021: Alchemy
June 12 – 27, 2021
This summer the Northern Spark festival returns and takes new forms: in the mail, online, and in person, in St. Paul for a two week span of time.
In past years during Northern Spark, tens of thousands of people have gathered throughout the cities from dusk to 2am on two nights. In 2021 the festival supports artist projects that encourage our communities to safely connect and still inspire the kind of experimental, surprising experiences we love at Northern Spark.
The theme for this year is Alchemy:
- A seemingly magical process of transformation, creation, or combination.
- An ancient practice from around the globe wherein sorcerers of science attempt to transform base metals into gold.
- A search for a universal elixir.
Artists are the modern-day alchemists. We mix form, materials, and ideas to transform the collective emotional matter of this world into new shapes. If art were a universal elixir for healing, how do we hold space for grief and loss as well as concoct recipes to honor our hunger for joy? How do we transform isolation into intimacy? Orbits into intersections? What community wisdom might we mix together for recovery? This theme was created by the Artist Council with Northern Lights.mn.
This year’s distributed Northern Spark takes on new forms. You can engage with the festival’s artist projects online, or through the mail if you are a resident of St. Paul’s Eastside and Rondo/Frogtown neighborhoods.
Mail Art Projects
Mail Art has populist, anti-institutional and experimental roots, as artists looked to disrupt traditional gallery systems by sending handmade or printed postcards, letters, stickers, collages and even small objects through the postal service. We love to support artists who tap into systems such as the mail service to connect people, places and ideas in unconventional ways.
Mail Art Artists and their projects:
Seed Paper of Hope by Milkweed Collective (Kallie Melvin and Eva Adderley)
Collaborative Blocking: a Community Map by Corinne Teed and Tia Simone-Gardner
Friends are Silver and Gold by L. Kling and The Support Local Hustle Collective
Virtual Connections Projects
Virtual Connections is a platform that invites artists in many disciplines to create an art experience that connects people using online meeting technologies.
Virtual Connection Artists and their projects:
Virtual Solstice Sound Garden by Dameun Strange
Vigil by Gabrielle Civil
The Wind Always Strikes the Highest Mountain by Yeej Moua
Title TBD by Lightning Rod
Braiding our Generations Together
A virtual and public art storytelling project
In collaboration with Indigenous Roots, American Indian Family Center, Elder’s Lodge and Metro State University, led by Reyna Day and Ruti Mejia of International Indigenous Youth Council – Twin Cities.
And more to be announced soon!