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Big Changes for Northern Spark 2018

Via a November 14 e-newsletter from Northern

The Night Librarians, The Night Library, Northern Spark 2017. Photo: Dusty Hoskovec

As the seven year arc of Northern Spark indicates, we don’t often do the same thing twice. We’ve moved the festival around the Twin Cities, experimenting with size, site and theme. Being itinerate and experimental is part of our DNA at Northern, much like the artists we support. In this spirit, we’re trying something different this year. We’re making the festival two nights, Friday and Saturday, and starting at dusk – 9:02 pm, but closing up shop at 2 am. 

Why? We love the dawn as much as the 2% of Northern Spark attendees who stay until the end, but after some very bad weather and several years of barely dodging thunderstorms, we want to ensure that the effort artists put into their projects is not washed out by increasingly volatile weather.

We know from all the years past that a lot of magic and connection can be experienced by the time 2 am strikes, so we hope you join us in this trial. We’re also moving to the third weekend of June, so mark your calendars for two nights of late-night adventure on June 15 and 16, 2018, 9:02 pm - 2 am.

Northern Spark 2018 theme: COMMONALITY

Ruthann Godollei, News Flash Flash Cards, Northern Spark 2017. Photo: Anna Min of Min Enterprises Photography, LLC.

The theme of this year’s festival takes its cue from its venues: The Commons, the Minneapolis Central Library and Nicollet Mall in downtown Minneapolis. What is a 21st century commons? A 21st century library that serves everyone? A pedestrian friendly avenue that is friendly to anyone?

At a time when the darkest parts of our collective identity surface daily in public forms — overt racism, no-big-deal sexism, challenges to our rights to free speech, policies that fly in the face of climate science — we at Northern are committed to providing platforms that resist these ideas, that open dialogue and create relationships. What do we have in common? More specifically in the context of Northern Spark, what do we share when we gather together in physical space?

Are you an arts and culture organization who would like to be involved? Send a note to to talk to us.

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