Northern Spark Returns

When the first-ever Northern Spark festival debuted, people almost couldn’t handle the conceit. An arts festival all over town that went all night? Now in its 11th iteration, festival goers understand the draw—and the importance of participating with forward-thinking arts in this pandemic-tinged world. “People need people, they need community,” says Sarah Peters, the Executive Director of Northern, the organization behind Northern Spark. Community is at the heart of this year’s festival, but so are the radical changes to the Arts & Culture scene of the last two years. Peters says “It makes more sense to be slower, smaller and it’s more important to focus on intentionality.” With that in mind, the festival returns to being an all-nighter and its theme of “What the World Needs Now”, but a community-driven footprint, from the Rondo, Frogtown, and Little Mekong neighborhoods to downtown St. Paul, and a closing event on Raspberry Islandalong the Mississippi River. The whole project brings together local artists to incorporate art into our everyday urban routine and demonstrate the delight and power it holds. Rather than relying on passive hand-holding (although you can do that too!), participating artists explore future worlds that extend into imagination and possibility—think poetry projected onto buildings, fields of bubbles and other moments of connection. Collaborators include local orgs like the Native Youth Arts Collective and Minnesota Museum of Art alongside individual artists. Experience the journey through each of the locations, but make sure you plan on seeing the dawn at the end of the fest. SAT. 9 PM-2 AM. Free.

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