Northern Spark

Northern Spark is a new MN Festival modeled on a nuit blanche or “white night” festival – a dusk to dawn participatory art event along the Mississippi and surrounding areas.

Save the date!

Northern received start up funding from the MN State Arts Board and Northern Spark will take place the evening of June 4 (sunset 8.55 pm) till the morning of June 5, 2011 (sunrise 5.28 am).

Our goal is make Northern Spark a world-class event that focuses on Minnesota-based artists, pushes the boundaries of contemporary art, transforms the urban environment into a city-wide art gallery, includes a diversity of participating organizations from partner non-profits to commercial sponsors to “mom and pop” businesses, involves a broad and diverse audience who are not regular attendees of traditional art venues, and showcases the natural and urban splendors of the Twin Cities.

In addition to a number of invited local, national, and international artist projects, there will be open, juried calls for at least 10 additional artists and 10 venues to each receive support for projects at Northern Spark.

Presented by

Northern Spark is directed and produced by Northern in collaboration with the Spark Festival and with the support of numerous participating organizations and institutions.


Northern is a roving, collaborative, interactive media-oriented, arts agency from the Twin Cities for the world. It presents innovative art in the public sphere, both physical and virtual, focusing on artists creatively using technology, both old and new, to engender new relations between audience and artwork and more broadly between citizenry and their built environment.

Spark Festival

Now in its eighth year, the Spark Festival of Electronic Music and Arts gather creators and performers of new media arts from around the world to the Twin Cities to showcase their groundbreaking works of music, art, theater, and dance that feature use of new technologies.

Participating Artists

Participating artists to date include: Christopher Baker, Body Cartography, Jim Campbell, Barbara Clausen, Phil Hanson, Wing Young Huie, Minneapolis Art on Wheels, Ali Momeni, Janaki Ranpura, Jenny Schmid, Andrea Stanislav, Piotr Szyhalski, Diane Willow, Roman Verostko, Marcus Young, and others.

Participating Organizations

Participating organizations to date include: Forecast Public Art, Intermedia Arts, Kulture Klub, Le Meridien Chambers, Macalaster College, McNally Smith College of Music, The Minneapolis Institute of Arts, Minnesota Museum of American Art,, Public Art Saint Paul, ro/lu, Soap Factory, SooVac, The W Foshay, Walker Art Center, Weisman Art Museum

Supported by

This activity is made possible in part by a grant provided by the Minnesota State Arts Board, through an appropriation by the Minnesota State Legislature from the Minnesota arts and cultural heritage fund with money from the vote of the people of Minnesota on November 4, 2008.

Join Us

Wing Young Huie, University Avenue Project opens tonight

Wing Young Huie reviewing test of the University Avenue Project(ion) site at 1433 University Ave., St. Paul, MN

Wing Young Huie reviewing test of the University Avenue Project(ion) site at 1433 University Ave., St. Paul, MN

Northern Lights was invited by Public Art Saint Paul and Wing Young Huie to participate in Wing’s University Avenue Project by proposing a “Project(ion) Site,” where there will be a nightly 2-hour show beginning at dusk of more than 450 of Wing’s photographs, which he has taken over the past 4 years, and which are exhibited along a 6-mile stretch of University Avenue.

The show begins tonight, Saturday, May 1, at 8 pm at 1433 University Avenue, and runs through October 31. More details.

Save the date – Wing Young Huie, University Avenue Project

Wing Young Huie, University Avenue Project Save the date May 1, 2010

Wing Young Huie, University Avenue Project Save the date May 1, 2010

“In 2010 photographer Wing Young Huie in collaboration with Public Art Saint Paul will transform St. Paul’s University Avenue into a 6-mile public gallery of 500 photographs revealing the complex cultural and socioeconomic diversity of neighborhoods along this urban corridor. Photographs will be exhibited in store windows and on buildings and will be projected at night onto large outdoor screens accompanied by pre-recorded and, at monthly events, live music.” –

Wing Young Huie, University Avene Project opens May 1, 2010

Wing Young Huie, University Avene Project opens May 1, 2010

A serious question

Auctioneer wanted. RT #WalkerArtCenter

Auctioneer wanted. RT #WalkerArtCenter

Northern Lights is working with the Walker Art Center on an artist project this summer, and we’re looking for an auctioneer to work with us.

And the winner is . . .

Every year the Museums and the Web conference awards “Best of the Web” in various categories. This year, in the Innovative or Experimental Site category, the winner was My Yard Our Message.

My Yard Our Message was part of Northern Lights’ UnConvention collaboration.

The jury said about the project:

  • Awesome … brilliant job
  • leveraging a local event with national implications
  • the quality of the final slogan boards were as good if not
  • better than a corporate ad agency
  • the content worked during election season but also stands up beautifully now, post-election, both in terms of interest and also as a historical snapshot of the thinking of the time

Yard signs are as ubiquitous and familiar to the American political landscape as baby-kissing and stump speeches, combining catchy images and pithy campaign slogans to increase visibility for vying candidates and their parties’ messages. In honor of this election season, My Yard Our Message turns this tradition of political ephemera on its ear with a unique national competition: we’re putting the message and the creative design for these political yard signs in the hands of artists and then—in true democratic fashion—you, the people, will vote among the entries to determine a selection of fifty winners, whose designs will be made available to order as full-sized political yard-signs after August 1.

More details about the project and the process of putting it together are here.

My Yard Our Message, a project conceived by Scott Sayre, is produced by the Walker Art Center and in collaboration with The UnConvention.

The UnConvention is a non-partisan collaboration of local and national cultural organizations and citizens, initiated by Northern Lights, exploring the creative intersection of participatory media and participatory democracy. It exists as a counterpoint to the highly scripted and predetermined nature of the contemporary presidential nomination process and conventions.