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Northern Spark 2017 Will be Along the Green Line

Via a March e-newsletter from Northern

From sunset on June 10 to sunrise on June 11Northern Spark 2017 is a free all-night art festival exploring the effects of climate change through participatory projects happening in neighborhoods along Metro Transit’s Green Line.           

Northern Spark 2017 will illuminate and draw audiences to neighborhoods and public spaces all along the METRO Green Line, connecting Minneapolis and St. Paul. Experience the largest Northern Spark yet, with nearly 70 art projects organized around neighborhood nodes: Cedar Riverside/West Bank, Weisman Art Museum/East Bank, Little Africa/Snelling, Rondo/Lexington, and Little Mekong/Western. In downtown Minneapolis the festival moves from its usual river location to The Commons, the new green space at Portland and 5th, and culminates in Saint Paul at Union Depot, the Green Line terminus in Lowertown.

Northern Spark Launches Andrea Carlson’s Train Wrap In Partnership with Metro Transit

To kick off Northern Spark 2017, Northern and Metro Transit have partnered to commission a spectacular full-color train wrap created by artist Andrea Carlson, which will run through June 10. Carlson has taken as her theme a water panther on one side with the Dakota words Mni Wiconi (water is life). On the other side of the train is a thunderbird with the words Nibi gaa-bimaaji'iwemagak (water gives life) in Ojibwe.      

In an urban context, paved streets are like tributaries feeding rain and runoff into nearby rivers of the watershed. According to Northern Spark Co-Director Steve Dietz, “Carlson’s design is both a memorial to the power of water and a plea to honor it in all our uses, especially as human activities lead to increased risk of droughts, severe weather events, melting ice caps, sea level rise, and ocean acidification as just some of the water-related effects of climate change.” 

Carlson says of her design,"we have the tools to make sure that Dakota and Ojibwe don’t disappear... because that tool is our minds. Anyone can learn it, so we can save these languages. And I feel like the planet is in the same situation. We have the tools to make sure this doesn’t happen."              

Carlson is an internationally recognized painter and media artist who lives and works in Chicago, IL and Saint Paul, MN. Her Anishinaabe (Ojibwe), French and Scandinavian heritage provides a rich foundation for her investigations of cultural consumption, history and identity, and the intrinsic power of storytelling. Her work is in prominent collections including those of the Weisman Art Museum, the British Museum, and the National Gallery of Canada.                   

The train is a reflection not only of Northern Spark’s connection to the transitway but of Metro Transit’s commitment to sustainability.                

The Green Line construction project included several stormwater management features that help prevent runoff from entering the nearby Mississippi River, including tree trenches and rain gardens. The Green Line’s Operations and Maintenance Facility in Lowertown also has a stormwater capture system that helps provide water for irrigation and restrooms at CHS Field.                

“This partnership is a great opportunity to not only bring our community together but also to highlight our organization’s strong commitment to sustainability in all its forms,” General Manager Brian Lamb said.

Metro Transit is among just a few transit agencies to earn Gold Level certification through the American Public Transit Association’s Sustainability Program.

You can read more about Andrea Carlson’s train wrap design in her interview with NL’s Assistant Curator, Elle Thoni.

Free passes will be available to download for travel on Metro Transit the night of Northern Spark.

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