Kim Eslinger

David Tinjum

Ryan Ojard
Staff Photographer

Claudia Kittock
Columnist / Non-Profits

Kathleen Boe
River Matters Columnist

Meg Forney

Doug Verdier

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Minneapolis Riverfront News

Covering life, work, and play in the Historic Mill District and Downtown Minneapolis Riverfront neighborhoods. Have an opinion, local news or events to share?  Contact us.


My North Series - 52 Minnesota Stories Leading up to the 2018 Super Bowl (Episodes 16-20)

Count down to Super Bowl 52 with this weekly video series of 52 love letters to Minnesota from notable Minnesotans. My North is an editorial video series created by Mpls.St.Paul Magazine and presented by Explore Minnesota. Hear from tastemakers and stylemakers. Artists and athletes. Authors and entertainers. These are their odes to the state they love. Below are episodes 16-20 - click here to see more


Tickets go on Sale June 27 for the 2017 Rails and Ales Light Rail Brewery Crawl

2017 Rails and Ales Light Rail Brewery Crawl

The 2017 Rails and Ales Light Rail Brewery Crawl is scheduled for Saturday, September 9, 11:00am to 6:00pm.  This event sells out quickly, so whether want to experience it for the first time - or again - you should register ASAP.

Your Crawl Ticket Includes:
- 2 Pints of Craft Beer
- 2017 Rails & Ales T-Shirt
- All-Access Metro Transit Light Rail Pass
- Access to All 16 Local Breweries Along the Green Line Light Rail
- Event Passport to Guide Your Route
- Rails & Ales Exclusive Beers just for Participants
- Special Discounts on Food, Beer, & Merchandise
- Food Trucks, Live Music, and Other Fun Activities
- Entry to Win Tons of Prizes & Giveaways
- Access to Discounted Room Rate at Local Hotel (Limited Quantities)


Friends of the Mill District Singers Update

Article by Claudia Kittock

The Friends of the Mill District Singers are on summer hiatus, but ended this session with a bang.  We performed at the Loring Park Music Fest on June 10th. If you remember, June 10th had a high temperature of 93, and we sang at 2:00 in the afternoon! Nothing could stop this group of friends and neighbors.

Our performance in the park, led by JD Steele and accompanied by Fred Steele, was filled with passion and fun. We sang songs of joy, of hope, and some that were filled with laughter. JD, in his inimitable style, had the audience singing along with us and moving to the music. I think it is safe to say that singers and audience alike had a great time.

The Singers are sponsored by the neighborhood charity, Friends of the Mill District, and a grant from the Metropolitan Regional Arts Council (MRAC). We received a grant for the 2016-17 season and just received word that we have received another grant for the 2017-18 season. These grants are critical to the survival of our group. While the grant covers about 40% of the operating expenses for the group, we depend on the contribution of individuals to keep us going.

We performed in very different venues to very different audiences, ranging from the Guthrie Theater, the MacPhail Music Matters Luncheon, at the Concert Across American to End Violence, Winterfest on 2nd Street in the Mill District, to singing ‘Take Me out to the Ballgame’ during the 7th Inning stretch at a Minnesota Twins game. It is difficult to imagine a more diverse range of venues, although we are determined to add audiences next year. Our goals were met in ways we couldn’t have imagined, and we far surpassed anything we were able to imagine.

We ended this season with 160 members on our roster. The average attendance at rehearsals seems to have ‘settled’ at 42-43 singers. We have carloads of men from Harbor Lights attending, people from Alliance Apartments and Emanuel Housing, as well as many members from the Mill District condominiums and from condos in the St. Anthony neighborhood. There is even a ‘friend’ who drives from North Branch to sing with us. While our outreach has been incredibly successful, we are just getting started!

If you are interested in making a contribution, please send a check to Friends of the Mill District, at 212 10th Avenue S, Unit 102, Minneapolis, MN 55415. Thank you!!

If you'd like to join the Singers when Saturday practices resume later this year, drop a line to for more info.


Minnesota State Pre-Fair Tickets Sold at Minneapolis Visitor Information in Downtown Minneapolis

Via a June 23 e-newsletter from Meet Minneapolis:

Minnesota State Pre-Fair Tickets Sold at Minneapolis Visitor Information in Downtown Minneapolis

While it may seem too early to think about the end of summer, it is always a good time to plan to attend the Minnesota State Fair. Now, Minneapolis residents and downtown workers have a convenient location where they can buy discounted state fair tickets. Starting June 25, Minneapolis Visitor Information, located conveniently downtown on Nicollet at 5th Street across from the METRO Nicollet station, will be selling pre-fair tickets from June 25tth to Aug. 23rd for $11 (normally $14 at the gate).

While there, visitors may want to check out the locally inspired gifts from Love From Minneapolis, get transit passes and information from Move Minneapolis or inquire about great places to visit from Meet Minneapolis travel staff.

Minneapolis Visitor Information on Nicollet location: 505 Nicollet Mall Suite 100

Store Hours:
Sunday Noon–5 p.m.
Monday 10 a.m.–6 p.m.
Tuesday 10 a.m.–6 p.m.
Wednesday 10 a.m.–6 p.m.
Thursday 10 a.m.–6 p.m
Friday 10 a.m.–6 p.m.
Saturday noon–5 p.m.

Minneapolis Visitor Information is currently home to the Mary Tyler Moore statue, locally inspired gifts, and information for residents and visitors on the city of Minneapolis.


Always 12 days of fun ending Labor Day, the Great Minnesota Get-Together welcomes 1.9 million guests annually to a world-class showcase of livestock, agriculture, horse, art, talent and creative activities competitions; 500 food items; 900 free entertainment shows; the Mighty Midway and Kidway; Grandstand concert series; 1,000 vendors; exhibits for kids and adults; a fireworks show each evening; and more! 


Meet Minneapolis is a private, not-for-profit, member-based association. It actively promotes and sells the Minneapolis area as a destination for conventions and meetings, works to maximize the visitor experience and markets the city as a desirable tourist destination to maximize the economic benefit of the greater Minneapolis area. 

Meet Minneapolis is accredited by the Destination Marketing Accreditation Program (DMAP) of the Destination Marketing Association International. 


Online: and for deals & exclusive experiences:

On Facebook:

On Twitter:

On Instagram:

On Pinterest:

#askMPLS: Use this hashtag to get answers to all your Minneapolis questions from our team! 


Have You Heard About the Minneapolis Water Taxi?

Minneapolis Water Taxi

Experience the Mississippi River above the St. Anthony Falls with the Minneapolis Water Taxi.

The Taxi can pick up/drop off at Boom Island docks or The Sample Room dock between 11am and 8pm daily (reserve a time). Capacity is 6 people, and the cost is $10 per person for an approximately one-hour cruise. Riders are welcome to bring snacks and beverages. 

The Taxi cruises between downtown Minneapolis, the Lowry Avenue Bridge, and the blue heron rookery. They are licensed by the US Coast Guard and inspected by the Hennepin County Sheriff's Water Patrol.

The website offers suggestions on how to use this service, such as a River Pub Crawl and Private River Limo Cruise, and also welcomes your requests. For more information, email and visit Facebook.


New Candidate in Ward 3 City Council Race

Tim Bildsoe, President of the North Loop Neighborhood Association, has entered the 3rd Ward City Council race. Press Release below:

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Contact Person: Bryan Hollaway
Committee Name: Tim for Ward 3
Phone: 239-209-1644
Email Address:

New Entrant to Minneapolis Ward 3 City Council Race Brings Proven Leadership and Results to Residents

Tim Bildsoe, community organizer, businessperson and North Loop resident, officially announces his candidacy for the open Ward 3 Minneapolis City Council seat.  Bildsoe is seeking to represent his community to improve the livability for all residents and the prosperity for local businesses.

As president of the North Loop Neighborhood Association, Tim Bildsoe has led initiatives to secure funding to repair crumbling roads, add green space and engage neighbors on important issues facing the community.

Bildsoe brings a wealth of experience to local government leadership. His public service resume includes 16 years of successful, collaborative work as a member of the Plymouth City Council. As a council member, he worked tirelessly on quality of life initiatives to improve the lives of his constituents. He brought about positive change in the areas of neighborhood safety, exceptional city services, well-maintained infrastructure and open space preservation. 

As a Minneapolis council member, Bildsoe is poised to hit the ground running as he continues to serve fellow Minneapolis Ward 3 residents.

“I’m very proud to live and work in Minneapolis and I look forward to serving all of the people of Ward 3.  We need proven leadership and experience as Minneapolis faces the real and growing challenges of affordability, development and neighborhood safety throughout the city,” said Bildsoe.  

Bildsoe’s top priorities include:

  • Strategic economic development
  • Improved communication from City Hall
  • A safe Downtown that is a destination for residents, workers and visitors
  • Improved pedestrian safety
  • Mississippi Riverfront environment
  • 21st century transportation system
  • A better value for city tax dollars

 “I understand how government works – and, as importantly, I bring a passion for Minneapolis. I want to help build on its success,” Bildsoe said.

On November 7, Ward 3 voters will have the opportunity to help shape a strong future for Minneapolis by electing Tim Bildsoe.


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Get Your Creative Juices Flowing for the 2017 Mississippi Minute Film Festival

The Mississippi Minute Film Festival returns for its fourth season this fall, so it's time to start thinking about your 60-second film entries now. This event is hosted by the Minneapolis Riverfront Partnership, and is scheduled for Monday, October 23, at the Mill City Museum.


Decades of Minneapolis Park History Now Available to Explore at the Central Library

Via a June 22 e-newsletter from the Minneapolis Park and Rec Board:

Decades of Minneapolis Park history now available to explore at Hennepin County-Minneapolis Central Library

Thousands of historic documents now available to public at Hennepin County-Minneapolis Central Library

The Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board (MPRB) and Hennepin County Library (HCL) are excited to announce the successful transfer of a huge collection of MPRB proceedings, reports and other historic documents to Minneapolis Central Library.

Thousands of documents providing a detailed, fascinating record of Minneapolis park history are now open to the public at the James K. Hosmer Special Collections located on the fourth floor of Central Library. This collection holds archival material that shows the growth, improvement and programming of the Minneapolis park system from the early 1880s through the 1960s. It includes:

• Proposals and correspondences tracing the evolution of the Minneapolis park system as it grew to encompass 15% of the city’s land
• Reports and petitions illuminating significant park issues across different eras
• Official Board actions including agreements, policies and contracts

James K. Hosmer Special Collections is open to the public Monday-Thursday, 10 am-4:30 pm, as well as the first and third Saturdays of the month, 10 am-4:30 pm.

Discover the history of your neighborhood park or learn more about the development of iconic Minneapolis landmarks in the Minneapolis Parks Collection, now available at Central Library. 


D’Amico Catering Takes its Show on the Road with All-New Bushel & Peck Food Truck

Food truck will provide on-the-go lunch options in Downtown East area and support Minnesota Historical Society events and venues, D’Amico Catering and D’Amico restaurants

D’Amico Catering announced the roll-out of its Bushel & Peck food truck. Designed to complement the company’s Bushel & Peck café, which rolled out its updated décor and menu at Mill City Museum in April, the truck will operate at various on-street locations near the museum daily from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. through October, providing a fast and convenient option for area diners seeking lunch on-the-go. The Bushel & Peck food truck menu includes burgers, fries (plain or “loaded” options), a brisket sandwich, and a chili cheese dog.  A chicken, mango and avocado salad or a grain and vegetable bowl are available for diners seeking light and healthy fare.

The Bushel & Peck food truck will also serve at various Minnesota Historical Society evening events and venues throughout the summer, such as Nine Nights of Music at the Minnesota History Center on Tuesday nights in July and August and  Mill City Live at Mill City Museum on Wednesday nights in August, and it will be a mobile extension of D’Amico Catering and its new Bushel & Peck brand through its operations at other public and private events and locations around town. D’Amico & Partners restaurants also will use the truck for community events.

“D’Amico & Partners has been working with the Minnesota Historical Society for almost 15 years and we are excited to continue and grow this wonderful partnership. The Bushel & Peck food truck will supplement our café operations, not only at Mill City Museum, but also at the Minnesota History Center and potentially at other historical properties for their high-traffic needs,” said Larry D’Amico, D’Amico & Partners cofounder. “The food truck provides a quick, convenient and quality lunch option for Downtown East area residents, hotel guests, businesses, riverfront visitors, farmer’s market shoppers and others. It’s also an exciting new tool for D’Amico Catering that will provide our customers with another service option.” 

For more information on the new Bushel & Peck food truck, visit or follow Bushel & Peck on its social media handles: Facebook – Bushel & Peck at Mill City, Instagram – @bushelandpeckmillcity and Twitter - @bushelandpeckmc.

About D’Amico & Partners

D'Amico & Partners was founded in 1982 and owns and operates restaurants and catering companies in Minnesota and Naples, Florida. Minnesota operations include seven D'Amico & Sons restaurants, two D’Amico & Sons Italian Kitchen restaurants in Super Target stores, D'Amico Catering, Café & Bar Lurcat, Campiello, and Parma 8200. Florida operations include Campiello, The Continental, Café & Bar Lurcat, Fogg Café, D’Amico & Sons and Lurcat Catering. D'Amico & Partners is a multiple time James Beard Award nominee. For more information, visit

Chicken, Mango and Avocado Salad

Loaded Fries, Chicken, Bacon, White Cheddar Cheese Sauce


How do you connect with nature in Minneapolis Parks? Take the Ecological System Plan survey!

The Ecological System Plan is centered around seven topics.

Help develop the Ecological System Plan, a vision for more environmentally friendly parks and public spaces

The Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board (MPRB) and Mississippi Watershed Management Organization (MWMO) are working together to create the Ecological System Plan. This plan will set a vision for making parks and public lands more friendly to the environment.

Ecological System Plan topics include:
- Air Quality Issues
- Biodiversity and Habitat Quality
- Carbon Sequestration
- Habitat Connectivity
- Stormwater Runoff
- Sustainable Energy Generation
- Urban Heat Island Effect

As this plan develops, MPRB hopes to learn about how park users connect with nature in the parks and which ecological system plan topics are most important to them. Please take a short survey to share your perspective:

Share the survey with friends and family using this easy-to-remember link:

For more information on the Ecological System Plan, please visit the online project page: Ecological System Plan project page

To learn more about this project and others, visit


Public Hearing June 22 for Draft Municipal Minimum Wage Ordinance

Public hearing June 22 for draft municipal minimum wage ordinance 

WHAT:   The City Council’s Committee of the Whole will hold a public hearing on the draft municipal minimum wage ordinance.

WHEN:   3:30 p.m. Thursday, June 22

WHERE:   City Council Chamber, Room 317, City Hall, 350 S 5th Street

MORE:   The public will have the opportunity to weigh in on the proposed municipal minimum wage working its way through the City Council approval process. The council is considering a draft ordinance establishing a $15-an-hour minimum wage for employees in Minneapolis. Businesses would have until July 1, 2022 to reach the target wage. The final draft minimum wage ordinance will be presented to the council’s Committee of the Whole 10 a.m. Wednesday, June 28. Any final revisions or amendments could be entertained before a final copy is prepared and submitted to the full City Council. The full Council will vote on the final municipal minimum wage ordinance at its regular meeting 9:30 a.m. Friday, June 30.

Comments can also be submitted by email to They must be received by Thursday, June 22 to be included in the public hearing record. For more information, visit


MPRB’s Annual Fourth of July Celebration Red, White and Boom

MPRB’s Annual Fourth of July Celebration Red, White and Boom

Celebrate the Fourth of July during Minneapolis Red, White and Boom, a two-day celebration hosted by the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board. The event, held along the downtown Minneapolis Riverfront, features live music, great food, fun activities for the whole family, and the grand finale – fireworks!
On Tuesday, July 4, Father Hennepin Bluff Park will offer FREE family activities in the Family Fun Zone, 6:00pm–9:30pm including balloon twisters, caricature artists, hair and  face painting,and a “Despicable Me 3” tattoo parlor, courtesy of event sponsor Universal Studios. Bands performing this year are as follows:
Father Hennepin Bluff Park
6–7:30 pm Sarah Morris
8-10 pm DJ to be announced
Mill Ruins Park
6–7:30 pm Jazz Ensemble: Acts of Persuasion
8–10:00 pm Tre Aaron
The Red, White and Boom Celebration closes with a spectacular fireworks display along the Riverfront at 10:00pm. 

If interested in being a sponsor or donating to the Minneapolis Fireworks Fund, please call 612-230-6400.

Pre-Fourth of July Celebration
Monday, July 3 - 7:00 pm - Nicollet Island
Enjoy free live music starting at 7 pm courtesy of Annie Mack, followed by the outdoor film “Captain America: Civil War.” Movie starts at dusk.


Minneapolis History: The Aerial Experience

Minneapolis celebrates its 150th birthday this summer. Go back on an aerial journey through time to experience the roots of the Mill City. Minneapolis experienced an economic boom in the last two decades of the 19th century carried by a thriving milling industry. For half a century, Minneapolis was the flour mill capital of the world. Just before the stock market crash of 1929, wealthy entrepreneurs including Wilbur B. Foshay were spending absurd amounts of money on real estate, specifically tall structures. Once the Great Depression hit, Minneapolis would go into a major period of recession and the city turned into a gathering place for unemployed men surrounded by flophouses and vacant buildings. In the early 1960's the city still never shook off the aftermath of the great depression. They received federal funding to demolish 40% of the city in just a few years. Many historic structures were lost in this large scale demolition for no apparent reason. Watch this historical drone-based documentary narrated by Bob Michaels and you will learn much more than they teach you in school.


Scenes from the June 17 Mill City Farmers Market

June 17 was Brain Health Day at the Mill City Farmers Market, and MCFM sponsor American Academy of Neurology (AAN) once again held their bike helmet giveaway. By 8:00am there was a line of shoppers trailing down the block and around on Washington Avenue, patiently waiting to receive one of the 1,000 complimentary helmets. Look for additional pictures and information on our Farmers Market blog later this week.

June 17, 2017 Mill City Farmers Market

June 17, 2017 Mill City Farmers Market

June 17, 2017 Mill City Farmers Market

June 17, 2017 Mill City Farmers Market

After the wicked hail storm this past Sunday, I was worried how our produce vendors fared. Despite this Loon Organics sign explaining why the produce might look a little ugly this week, we still found a beautiful selection. 

June 17, 2017 Mill City Farmers Market

The Meet Your Vegetables nutrition interns are back! They feature quick, easy, and seasonal recipes for customers to sample, along with recipe cards to take home. The Meet Your Vegetables program is sponsored by Allina Health. This week's recipe was Raw Asparagus Salad, which is made by shredding asparagus into ribbons with a vegetable peeler, and then tossing the shreds with lemon juice, olive oil, salt and pepper.

June 17, 2017 Mill City Farmers Market

June 17, 2017 Mill City Farmers Market

June 17, 2017 Mill City Farmers Market

June 17, 2017 Mill City Farmers Market

June 17, 2017 Mill City Farmers Market

June 17, 2017 Mill City Farmers Market

June 17, 2017 Mill City Farmers Market

June 17, 2017 Mill City Farmers Market

June 17, 2017 Mill City Farmers Market

June 17, 2017 Mill City Farmers Market

June 17, 2017 Mill City Farmers Market

Chef Austin Bartold, a member of the Lac Courte Oreilles Ojibwe Indian Reservation, was the June 17 Mill City Cooks guest chef.

June 17, 2017 Mill City Farmers Market

June 17, 2017 Mill City Farmers Market

June 17, 2017 Mill City Farmers Market

June 17, 2017 Mill City Farmers Market

June 17, 2017 Mill City Farmers Market

These delicate, intricate earings and necklaces created by jewelry artist April Barnhart of Aprilierre were inspired by her mother's book, Home for Supper: memories and recipes.

June 17, 2017 Mill City Farmers Market

June 17, 2017 Mill City Farmers Market

June 17, 2017 Mill City Farmers Market

June 17, 2017 Mill City Farmers Market

June 17, 2017 Mill City Farmers Market

June 17, 2017 Mill City Farmers Market

June 17, 2017 Mill City Farmers Market

June 17, 2017 Mill City Farmers Market

June 17, 2017 Mill City Farmers Market

Like many others who encounter garlic scapes for the first time at the Market, I was sceptical. But it didn't take long to get hooked, and now I look forward to this seasonal treat every year.

June 17, 2017 Mill City Farmers Market

June 17, 2017 Mill City Farmers Market

June 17, 2017 Mill City Farmers Market

Milly the goat!

June 17, 2017 Mill City Farmers Market 


Buses will Replace Downtown Trains June 22-July 3

Due to scheduled system improvements and maintenance, buses will replace trains for 11 days beginning Thursday, June 22 during a partial shutdown on the METRO Blue & Green Line. Customers can board replacement buses near the affected stations. Buses run on similar schedules as trains but can take more time. Customers are urged to plan accordingly. Consider walking or biking from U.S. Bank Stadium Station to your downtown destinations.

From 6:45 p.m. Thursday, June 22 until 5 a.m. Monday, July 3, buses will replace Blue and Green Line trains for these stations:

- U.S. Bank Stadium (northbound/westbound only)
- Government Plaza
- Nicollet Mall
- Warehouse-Hennepin Avenue
- Target Field

See all your options for getting where you need to be during the 11 day shutdown. 
See maps for boarding locations

*A brief extension of the closure will take place the first evening Thursday, June 22 at 11 p.m. At that point Blue Line trains will not operate between Franklin Avenue and Target Field stations and Green Line trains will not operate between West Bank and Target Field stations. Replacement bus service will be in effect.
Trains will resume to U.S. Bank Stadium station at 3:30 a.m. on Friday, June 23 and for the duration of the 11 day improvement closure.


Juxtaposition Arts (JXTA) - A Positive Force for Artistic Northside Youth

Article by Claudia Kittock, photos by Rick Kittock

In a small storefront in North Minneapolis is a place where magic happens. The first clue to that magic are the bubbles that cascade from the front of the building. When my husband asked why there were bubbles, Davu Seru, Communications Director, asked us, “How do they make you feel?” We said they made us feel happy and joyful. “That’s why they are there.”

Davu Seru, Communications Director

Juxtaposition Arts (JXTA) started in 1995. It was founded by DeAnna Cummings, Roger Cummings, and Peyton Russell. The first home for JXTA was Peyton Russell’s studio, and the first program offered was a Studio Arts Program that met 4 days a week, 4 hours a day for 8 weeks. The curriculum consisted of mentoring by professional artists to make art, learn art history, and to exhibit and sell their own art work.

In 2004, with support and leadership of JXTA Founding Board, JXTA purchased 3 buildings at the corner of West Broadway and Emerson and converted the building at 2007 Emerson into the Northside's first youth visual arts program space, gallery, and offices. This is the building that blows bubbles!

JXTA places a high value on learning by doing, because they know young artists learn and grow in their core competencies through experiences. They provide a safe space, mentorship, connections, and tools so that young people can practice the critical skill of turning their creative ideas into fully realized art products.

As a JXTA participant, youth grow as a confident and competent artist, overcoming creative challenges and achieving visible successes. Young people who have participated in JXTA’s programs have gone on to become professional artists, business owners, activists, students, and proactive community members.

"They always want us to do better
by encouraging us and pushing us
past our limits at times."

Every student at JXTA begins in the Visual Arts Literacy Training (VALT). Designed for young artists to explore, refine and grow their skills in the arts. VALT is an opportunity to learn alongside professional artists to build a base of skills to use in future educational and professional endeavors. Interested young people only need apply on the website. The VALT is free to all who apply.

Once JXTA students reach a level of mastery in the Visual Art Literacy Training they may apply for a paid apprentice position and work with professional artists in graphic design, screen print, environmental design, contemporary arts or public art studios. As one student said, "They always want us to do better by encouraging us and pushing us past our limits at times."

The art produced at JXTA is exciting. We were privileged to have a tour of the facility and left exhilarated by what we saw. Art is made here! Youth are pushed to discover their talent and themselves. This is a place filled with joy! Consider investing in their work as they strive to become the largest employer of youth in North Minneapolis.

Claudia can be reached at


Parkway Closures for June 16-18 Stone Arch Bridge Festival

June 16-18 Parkway closures for the Stone Arch Bridge Festival:

Fri, June 16 - 4:00pm - 11:00pm
Sat, June 17 - 9:00am - 11:00pm
Sun, June 18 - 9:00am - 8:00pm
Main St. - From Hennepin Ave to 6th Ave SE

Click here for event info



Highlights from Northern Spark 2017

Via a June 15 e-newsletter from Northern

The Commons, Northern Spark 2017, photo: Bethany Birnie

Wow - what an amazing night!

From downtown to Lowertown and back, we engaged our way through the cities to experience creative conversation about the climate in neighborhoods both new and familiar.

Here are a few highlights from our staff:

After a rousing send off by J.D. Steele and the MacPhail Community Youth Choir, The Commons was active with robot librarians, alien technologies, water protectors, idling monsters and more. Don’t forget to come back to see the birds inhabit the ORBACLES -- onsite through the end of July.

Minneapolis’ new green space truly felt like a space for everyone on Saturday night.”-- Steve Dietz, Co-Director.

Cedar-Riverside/West Bank, Northern Spark 2017, photo: Bobby Rogers

The West Bank broke through borders as people gathered in the streets for a night of unity, reflection and sharing. Hundreds of people broke fast together after a call to prayer, and marigolds and electronic sounds were given as gifts, 1,000 prayer pockets were offered. People played games about food and systems, sat in a glowing dome, sat in a glowing aqal, and watched the world’s borders literally grown over by green plants.

Watching the Unity Iftar get organized in 3 days to join forces with the Ancestry Story Circles was an amazing feat. Seeing everyone out in the street for the call to prayer was beautiful.” --Teeko Yang, Outreach and Partnership Coordinator

Tin foil capes, lawn-a-looming, human hamster wheel running and interactive sound/projection kept the Weisman Art Museum bustling with activity on the East Bank stop. And of course, owls.

After 7 years of working on this festival I finally got to see the owls! I love this tradition of the raptors appearing at Northern Spark.”  - Sarah Peters, Co-Director

Tucked away from the hustle and bustle of University Ave, Little Africa was cozy yet active. The outdoor cinema of the Little Africa Film Fest screened documentaries and short films alike, while nearby people stood mesmerized by a wondrous miniature world. Participants created a new vision for the Earth and reflections on water, declared promises toward a petrol-free future and adopted nearly 200 trees to be planted in yards throughout the cities.

I arrived to Little Africa around 3:30am, and it was the best place to spend the last hours of my festival night. I found myself lying down inside the intimate Relative Water Liquid Spirit Healing Art Structure by Million Artist Movement, staring at the stars and contemplating my relationship to water, as well as the people around me.” -- Leslie Barlow, Social Media Goddess and Admin Assistant

tony the scribe and Ananya Dance Theater, just breathe, Northern Spark 2017, photo: Caleb Timmerman

Rondo rocked it with all-night participatory drumming, reflective shadow puppets, historic drawing and powerful performances from awesomely celebratory praise dance to a rotating schedule of contemporary movement and soundscape that brought the very real issue of air pollution in communities of color into emotional resonance. Students from High School for Recording Arts kept the parking lot dancing.

Through sound, dance, and spoken word, the projects in Rondo evoked both the urgency of environmental justice and the hope that carries us toward a more just future.” -- Ady Olson, Northern Projects Manager

After the delicious and spectacular Little Mekong Night Market came to a close at midnight, Northern Spark artists kept the Western Ave plaza a-glow with words, poems, stories, and symbols. Letters to Earth written on handmade paper were broadcast on the radio, dandelions and other living things memorialized the humans, we learned about traditional Hmong symbols for our temporary tattoos, we learned the word for water in many different languages, and ongoing performance linked Asian identity and culture to earth and climate.

"Little Mekong invited us to lean into stories. To listen to the powerful stories of how we got here, and to imagine the poetic beginnings of new stories. To re-wild our individual and collective mythologies." - Elle Thoni, Assistant Curator

Lowertown was for walking, from installations at the M and tpt to a secret green alley market to Union Depot, where the bees live, to a fair wage sewing factory, flamenco dancing climate displacement, land raft, au revoir to biomes (they’ll be back if we #act), and much more in and around the Farmers Market.

To me, Lowertown was about spaces for reflection, what we want around us, where we came from and where we want to go and what kind of world we want to create.” -- Sara Shives, Producer

Areca Roe, Goodbye Biome, Northern Spark 2017, photo courtesy of the artist

View more photo highlights of the night on our flickr.

Northern Spark by the Numbers

Attendees: More than 45,000
Artists: 415
Projects: 63 page views: 201,161
Free rides using Metro Transit’s downloadable pass: 33,000
Media hits: 90+
#northernspark images on Instagram: 6,779
Time trending on Twitter: 11 hours
New Facebook Page Likes during the festival: 129
Second-hand water bottles given away: 700
People who said goodbye to their biome: 921
Prayer pockets hung: 1,000
Line still going strong at 5:30am: The Night Library
Trees adopted: 190
Google Cardboards distributed: 800
How was your night?

We’d love to hear your story!  Tell us about you and your experience using the post-event survey. Your feedback gives us valuable insight that helps us make Northern Spark better each year.
How does Northern Spark happen? 

Northern Spark 2017 was the largest festival we’ve organized yet. This was possible thanks to the hard work and generous support of a number of different groups. Northern Spark has always been a feat of collaboration; this year more than ever. We extend a heartfelt thank you to all of our sponsors and foundation funders; our Advisory and Steering Committees; the first-ever Northern Spark Program Council; our Neighborhood Partners and Presenting Partners, all of whom worked for more than a year in advance to put all the pieces of the festival in place.

Our considerable gratitude and many high-fives go to the 130 amazing volunteers who worked day and night-of the event and to our 24 crew members who sweated their way through a humid set-up, kept cool throughout the night and then packed up before the Sunday’s thunderstorm hit. We could not do this without you!

And finally, immeasurable thanks to the Northern Spark staff. We had an incredible team who took on this challenge of organizing 7 festivals in 7 locations on one night with grace, humor and expert skill. We learned so much from all of you. Kudos to historic success!
--Sarah Peters and Steve Dietz, Northern Spark Co-Directors
...and you!
Many people who attend Northern Spark don’t know that it’s actually a program of Northern, a Twin-Cities-based non-profit organization with just 3 year-round staff! Competitive grants -- both private and public -- pay for 90% of the festival. But the last 10% of support for Northern Spark comes from people just like you, giving their time and money to keep it homegrown and free for all to attend.

Please take a moment now to pitch in whatever you can: As of now we’re still working on that last 10%, and will be doing so until June 30. Your support will go directly toward helping us bring the festival back in 2018.
Northern is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization. All donations made to Northern Lights are tax deductible and support our year round public programming. Click here to donate to Northern

Northern is a non-profit arts organization whose mission is to transform our sense of what’s possible in public space. Northern Spark is one night, but Northern shines throughout the year with projects such as Creative City Challenge for the Minneapolis Convention Center, Art(ists) on the Verge, The Giant Sing-A-Long at the Minnesota State Fair, and permanent, interactive public art for Saint Paul’s Union Depot.


Washington Avenue Reconstruction Update

Brief closure of 5th Avenue South later this week

Beginning Friday, June 16, the southeastern corner of the intersection at 5th Avenue South and Washington Avenue South will be closed. This will allow crews to perform critical underground utility work in the intersection.

If you are travelling on 5th Avenue in this area during this closure:

· Westbound traffic will have one lane available to turn onto Washington Avenue
· All eastbound traffic will be detoured to South 4th Street and Park Avenue

Weather permitting, this closure is anticipated to last until the end of the day on Monday, June 19.

Project and traffic updates

Work is wrapping up on the 3rd Avenue intersection. All lanes of traffic are anticipated to reopen today.

Also, crews continue to make progress pouring curbs and gutters on Washington Avenue between 2nd and 3rd avenues. 

As a reminder:

· Eastbound Washington Avenue is open between Hennepin and 2nd avenues. All through traffic must use the detour of 2nd Avenue, 4th Street South and Park Avenue.
· The lane restrictions at 4th Avenue South continue.


"Walking the Boat" - It's Not Just Skiers Performing in the River Rats Show!

The 2017 Twin Cities River Rats season opened this past Thursday night, and it was fantastic fun. If you've never been to one of these free family-friendly events (or haven't lingered after all the skiers were done performing) you're missing this "walk the boat" stunt.

Follow the River Rats on Facebook and check out their event listing - don't let the summer go by without taking in at least one of their performances. The next show is Thursday, June 15. Bring a lawn chair or blanket, and enjoy snacks, pop, water, brats and hot dogs from the concession stand. 

This is an all-volunteer organization, and many of the performers are family members. When you go, consider bringing an extra $5 to drop in the contribution bucket after the show - they are sure to pay it forward!  :)

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