Artist Council

Jury Weekend with Northern Lights/ Northern Spark Artist Council and Staff from left to right: Courtney Cochran, Heather C. Lou, Hawona Sullivan Janzen, Mary Anne Quiroz, Ricardo Beaird, May Lee-Yang, Sarah Peters, Valerie Oliveiro, Anthonia Eboreime, Aki Shibata.

Northern Lights recognizes that equity work is long and continuous, and that progress doesn’t happen without intentionality. Northern recognizes that equity work is long and continuous, and that progress doesn’t happen without intention. The Artist Council (formerly known as the Program Council) is a group of rotating artists and organizers from various disciplines. The Council works with Northern Lights staff to strategize, jury, and curate the festival and engage communities at Northern Spark each year. 

The values and processes of the Artist Council are articulated in a document self-authored with Northern Lights staff in 2020, during a planned hiatus of the festival. Download a copy of Relationships & Reciprocity: A Guide to Making Northern Spark here

The 2021 Council convened in a year defined by an ongoing global pandemic, ongoing racism and disenfranchisement of many communities of color, and overall reduced arts funding related to the economic fallout of COVID-19.


The Program Council works with Northern Lights to address and promote racial equity by identifying places within Northern Lights’ programming to advocate for procedural, pragmatic and philosophical changes that increases equity and participation at Northern Spark and other Northern Lights programming.


To help Northern Lights conceive, plan, and execute Northern Spark 2019 in collaboration with community partners and members, with a particular attention to issues of equity and representation in terms of artists, partners, and audiences.

Deepest thank you to the 2021 Council: 

Aki Shibata, Courtney Cochran, Hawona Sullivan Janzen, Heather C. Lou, May Lee-Yang, Mary Anne Quiroz, and Ricardo Beaird with Artist Council Manager Valerie Oliveiro. For more information about Council members, visit the Artist Council page on the Northern site.