Northern Spark expands to two evenings this year


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The sprawling, all-night art party is doing things a little differently this year. 

Since 2011, citywide festival Northern Spark has invited people to visit pop-up art parties that included giant group swings, live music, interactive light installations, yarn bombings, games, and letter writing. Destinations have included underpasses by the Walker Art Center, the Mia's front lawn, and St. Anthony Main. One year the fest was in Lowertown St. Paul; another year it carried on in an epic rainstorm.

Typically, the event begins around 9 p.m. and whimsically rages on until dawn.

While locations and activities have changed from year to year, the general time span hasn't until this summer. Northern Spark has announced that the 2018 festival will host events on two nights, with a less intense time range of 9:02 p.m. to 2 a.m. each night.

“A two-night event gives us a built in rain date, but it also gives attendees more opportunity to experience the festival," says Sarah Peters, co-director of Northern Spark. "So many people tell us they can’t see everything in one night. Now there are two.”

The event will be concentrated in downtown Minneapolis this year. Once the full schedule has been announced, expect to see happenings at the Commons, Minneapolis Central Library, and Nicollet Mall between Fourth Street and Eighth Street.

This year's theme has also been announced: commonality.

"As everything from politics to family relationships can feel divisive, there is a call to look at what connects us, but to do so critically," says Steve Dietz, co-director of Northern Spark. "We’re interested in the ways that artists will celebrate and complicate the idea of commonality.”

The free, nighttime art party will take place Friday, June 15, and Saturday, June 16. There will also be a pre-event reception, a fundraiser for the event, on Saturday. 

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