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Creative City Challenge Finalists Announced for 2018 Northern Spark

Via a December 14 e-newsletter from Northern

Announcing the Creative City Challenge finalists

Each year three teams are selected to create a full proposal for an interactive art installation that launches the first night of Northern Spark and remains up for several weeks of summer in downtown Minneapolis. Congratulations to 2018’s finalists:

Carry-on Family, Carry-on Homes

Preliminary project sketch, Carry-on Family.


We are struck by the urgency of this year’s theme-- commonality. It is now, more important than ever to recognize how we can unite. Over the past year we have seen the division between people deepen because of increasingly divisive politics, protests and cultural trauma. These divisions have made social progress static and put many innocent people in danger of brutal violence. Protest here in the United States has motivated many of us immigrants from countries where public protesting is banned to step up and march in the streets. We hear marching slogans, we saw rising signs and rushed to participate. Applying labels to people and situations in haste. But labeling something or someone is not understanding. Stereotyping and categorizing only further divides us. Stories remain untold, voices remain unheard. In the spirit of those protests, it is urgent to reclaim public sites as common ground for mutual understanding.

We propose to build a multi-functional venue for story sharing, where individuals can come together and speak to their homes--near and far. This idea of home is a universally shared idea across cultures that transcends race, gender, class, and polemics. Our project gives a platform to those immigrants of Minnesota, who came from all over the world in search of peace, love, family, opportunities, and freedom. Not just listening, the viewers can also participate by sharing their own immigration story on a stage during various community gathering events, or through writing notes and tie on a “journey wall.” Carry-on Family is Peng Wu, Preston Drum, Shunjie Yong, Aki Shibata, Zoe Cinel, Omar Sameh Shehata.

Samuel B. Ero-Phillips, United Nations

Preliminary project sketch, Sam B. Eros-Phillips. 


This project takes inspiration from the mission of the United Nations as it relates to our common human experience around the world. This assembly hall serves as platform for people to discuss our strategies for reaching these goals. The base creates a space to sit and gather while the overhead structure provides shelter by displaying and illuminating our best shared ideals. The murals on the lower wood deck seating area and the custom globes will respond to a theme of commonality and will be curated by my network of youth worker community artists.

Yes Let’s!, Uncommon Courtesies

project sketch, Yes, Let's.


With a common question, a common experience, and a common community,  Uncommon Courtesies  is set up as an interactive radial experience, where visitors move through four different levels, each with stations that have recorded stories from diverse communities paired with supplementary graphics and text, ending in the center where they have an opportunity to contribute to the piece and experience.

Through this project we hope to use emotions as a universal language for human connection. Bringing stories from every corner of our diverse communities to a central hub like The Commons provides an accessible way for guests to connect across unnecessary divides.

Yes Let's is Sarah Alfalah, Rory Alt, David Brajkovic, Krystianna Johnson, Nina Johnson, Kenya Z. Mejia, Elizabeth T. Wolner, and Jason Quick. 

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