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Northern Spark to take over Lowertown this year

Northern Spark, an all-night art festival that’s in its third year, recently announced that in 2013, it’ll take over St. Paul’s Lowertown neighborhood.

The free festival, which is planned for the evening of June 8, continuing into the wee morning hours, offers a wide variety of performances, visual art, projected images, interactive media, and participatory events, according to Northern Spark materials.     

Last year, the festival took place in Minneapolis only, though in 2011 it hosted activities in both cities, including Lowertown. The location has jumped around based on scheduling needs and other factors, according to a post from Knight Arts.
Steve Dietz, who is the president and artistic director of Northern Lights.mn, which organizes the festival, says Lowertown is an ideal location because it “has a significant history as a vital center for artists and arts organizations.”  

Recently, the area has seen the reopening of the historic Union Depot, the development of an experimental project space for the Minnesota Museum of American Art and a new venue for the Bedlam Theatre. The coming Central Corridor Light Rail Transit and a new St. Paul Saints stadium will add to the momentum, he says.

The festival has a “unique opportunity to engage with an amazing history, remarkable architecture, creative ferment,” he says.

“We’d like Northern Spark to be an integral part of the exciting future of the area” and to show the neighborhood in a new light, he says.

Ultimately, the festival is about building community. It gets thousands of people “wandering purposely aimlessly at odd hours participating in a shared experience,” he says. “It is a way to not just imagine but participate in creating the place where we’d like to live.”

Recently, the organization put out a call for 10 projects, which can be in any medium. The deadline is March 4.

“The types of experiences range from spectacular to intimate to surprising to thought-provoking,” he says, adding that the most memorable works are interactive in some way.  

Although Northern Spark won’t disclose the lineup until March 12, more than 75 projects from 45 organizations will also be showcased at the festival, according to Dietz.

Source: Steve Dietz, president and artistic director, Northern Lights.Mn
Writer: Anna Pratt

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