Northern Spark 2021 Theme: Alchemy


Artists are the modern-day alchemists. We mix form, materials, and ideas to transform the collective emotional matter of this world into new shapes. If art were a universal elixir for healing, how do we hold space for grief and loss as well as concoct recipes to honor our hunger for joy? How do we transform isolation into intimacy? Orbits into intersections? What community wisdom might we mix together for recovery?

In 2021 the festival supports artist projects that encourage our communities to safely connect and still inspire the kind of experimental, surprising experiences we love at Northern Spark. Bring your grief, your joy, yourself and be part of the elixir of magical transformation. 

This theme was created by the 2021 Artist Council with Northern

New project forms for 2021: 

Mail Art has populist, anti-institutional and experimental roots, as artists looked to disrupt traditional gallery systems by sending handmade or printed postcards, letters, stickers, collages and even small objects through the postal service. Northern Spark loves to support artists who tap into systems such as the mail service to connect people, places and ideas in unconventional ways.

Mail Art Artists and their projects: 

  1. Seed Paper of Hope by Milkweed Collective (Kallie Melvin and Eva Adderley)
  2. Collaborative Blocking: a Community Map by Corinne Teed and Tia Simone-Gardner
  3. Friends are Silver and Gold by L. Kling and Support Local Hustle Collective

Virtual Connections is a platform that invites artists in many disciplines to create an art experience that connects people using online meeting technologies. 

Virtual Connection Artists and their projects:

  1. Virtual Solstice Sound Garden by Dameun Strange.
  2. Vigil by Gabrielle Civil.
  3. The Wind Always Strikes the Highest Mountain by Yeej Moua.
  4. sur la tableau avec lightning rod by Lightning Rod.

In-person public events: 

Braiding our Generations Together – A Virtual and Public Art Storytelling Project: This project is co-curated and co-led by Youth Organizers of Indigenous Roots and the International Indigenous Youth Council – Twin Cities Chapter in partnership with Artist and Elder Gustavo Boada. This public art piece is a 3D representation of traditional stories, ancestral teachings, poems and songs that have been passed down from one generation to the next. It will be installed at Imniza Ska (specifically Hamm Park), ancestral lands of the Dakota and Ojibwe peoples. 

Hamm Park has been selected because of its open and visible space on the 7th Street Cultural Corridor/ Intertribal Mural Corridor as well as the close proximity to Indigenous Roots Cultural Arts Center for easy maintenance. 

You Change Me by Lelis Brito and collaborators. An interactive in-person and virtual game of dance-telehphone, You Change Me bridges physical and virtual space.