Check out Northern Spark, an all-night arts festival

The free, annual all-night arts festival Northern Spark will light up the Twin Cities Saturday, June 11, with dusk-to-dawn events focused on the Earth’s changing environment. With its theme “Climate Chaos, Climate Rising,” the festival will explore the interconnected, evolving, long-term consequences from climate change through interactive projects, events and workshops in sites across the Twin Cities.

At dusk the festival will open at the Minneapolis Convention Center with the unveiling of ”Wolf and Moose,” large-scale, animated, interactive animal sculptures that won the 2016 Creative City Challenge. The festival will continue all night long in Minneapolis’s Mill District as audiences explore climate topics through giant video projections, performances and installations in the streets, in green spaces and under bridges along the waterfront. Food trucks will sell snacks and drinks throughout the night, and audiences can relax in a specially commissioned “chill” conversation space made of ice harvested from Minnesota lakes during the winter.

Besides the festival’s participatory art projects, the night will include talks, workshops and more activities with climate scientists, policy wonks, visionary engineers, political activists and artists.

Why focus on climate change? People need facts to make informed decisions, but stories and culture change behavior. Artists create connections through beauty, wonder and curiosity that allow participants to quickly engage in complex issues.

About Northern Spark

Northern Spark is presented by Northern Lights.mn, a nonprofit arts organization with the mission to transform our sense of what’s possible in public spaces. The Creative City Challenge art installation “Wolf and Moose” and related programming at the convention center is presented by the Minneapolis Convention Center; the Arts, Culture and the Creative Economy Program of the City of Minneapolis; and Meet Minneapolis, Convention & Visitors Association in collaboration with Northern Lights.mn.

Future programming

During the year between the 2016 and 2017 Northern Spark festivals, programming around the climate change theme will continue. Programming in winter of 2016 will delve into issues such as the future of food, new relationships to nonhuman species and radical river ecologies. Other ways to engage include community conversations over artist-designed meals, a climate film series, a climate change reading group, an online platform for sharing texts and ideas, “get your hands dirty” workshops, and community involvement days with artists developing projects for Northern Spark 2017.

The 2017 Northern Spark will be the biggest festival yet, with innovative, interactive art projects filling the landscape from Minneapolis along the Green Line through the neighborhoods of Saint Paul and ending in Lowertown.

Published May 31, 2016

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