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Northern Spark kicks off on Saturday, June 8th, at 8:58pm in Lowertown St. Paul, Minnesota. This will be our third year attending Northern Spark (a little history of the Nuit Blanche movement in this piece). Last year we stayed awake from dusk to dawn, and ended our night viewing the sunrise from the top of the Foshay Tower. It’s more difficult than you think to stay awake all night, an insomniac’s dream!

Here’s a link to Northern’s Spark’s full schedule and two more to their Facebook and Twitter pages. Last year we downloaded the Northern Spark app on our Droids and highly recommend it. The slideshow is a glimpse into our night walk around Minneapolis at last year’s Northern Spark, and at a pre-Spark gathering the week before. We are looking forward to Lowertown, St. Paul. It’s a gift to share the night, the light, and the Arts in community.


-posted on red Ravine, Friday, June 7th, 2013

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Night On Fire, BlackBerry Shots, photo © 2011 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved. Original BlackBerry photo June 2011, part of Northern Spark — Twin Cities Nuit Blanche.


Northern Spark 2012 begins next weekend in the Twin Cities at dusk on Saturday, June 9th and ends at the crack of dawn, Sunday, June 10th. Northern Spark is a free, dusk to dawn, participatory arts festival that presents visual arts, performance, films, and interactive media. Tonight at the Stone Arch Bridge in Minneapolis we plan to attend the Pre-Spark Bridge Lighting where planners will flip the switch for Northern Spark’s signature artwork, Robin Schwartzman’s THINK AND WONDER, WONDER AND THINK.  They will also be giving out festival guidebooks to preview before June 9.

Last year’s inaugural Northern Spark was magical. In 2011, over the course of the night, there were 50,000 visits to 100 projects by more than 200 mostly local artists at 34 venues in collaboration with 60 partner organizations and sponsors. I have listed a few of the places we visited in 2011 and a little history of the Nuit Blanche (“white night”) movement in the piece Northern Spark — Twin Cities Nuit Blanche.

The three photographs in this piece were taken while I was standing in the middle of Jim Campbell’s Scattered Light installation, part of Northern Spark 2011. In Annotated Artwork: The Making Of Jim Campbell’s ‘Scattered Light‘, Jim says moving from 2-D to 3D art is about “exploding an image, tearing it apart, and spreading it out.” His tips: 1. Pick a spot 2. Grab Source Material 3. Turn it into code 4. Create depth 5. Consider the planet. Honoring point 5, he and his assistants revamped thousands of standard lightbulbs, sawed them open, stuffed them with LEDs, and glued them back together, making handmade, unique, energy-efficient hybrids.

I am looking forward to Northern Spark 2012. At the Northern Spark website, there is a Planning Your Night page with a full list of events, including a link to download their new Northern Spark mobile app. We’ve already got ours loaded on our Androids. I only hope there is enough time to make all the events we’ve listed. It’s perfect for all of our fellow NightOwls! Hope to see our local readers there! If you can’t make it, you can follow Northern Spark on their Facebook page and at Twitter @Northern_Spark #NSPK.



IMG02620-20110604-2304#NorthernSpark - Scattered Lights by Jim Campbell - 23/52

Out Of The Darkness (L), #NorthernSpark – Scattered Light by Jim Campbell 23/52 (R), BlackBerry Shots, photo © 2011 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved. Original BlackBerry photos June 2011, part of Northern Spark — Twin Cities Nuit Blanche.


-posted on red Ravine, Saturday, June 2nd, 2012

-related to posts: Northern Spark — Twin Cities Nuit Blanche, Suspended In Light (Reprise), Insomnia Haiku: Counting Syllables In My Sleep, Mickey’s Night Owl Sandwich, Dreams Of A Creative Insomniac

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NS2011_RomanVerostko

Northern Spark Installation by Roman Verostko, Three-Story Drawing Machine, Minneapolis College of Art & Design, Minneapolis, Minnesota, April 2011, photo © Creative Commons by Northern Spark. Some rights reserved.


I walk in the tradition of the Night Owl, and revel in the sleepless rituals of nuit blanche. Tonight from 9pm to 6am, Liz and I will be traversing the Mississippi River (from Minneapolis to St. Paul and back!) to visit the art installations of Northern Spark. Various corners of the Twins Cities will be lit up from dusk until dawn with venues that include: the Mill City Silos, Minnesota Center for Book Arts, poetry at All My Relations Arts, the GLOW-a-BOUT at Loring Park near the Walker Art Center (open all night and featuring the Lullaby Experiment by Marcus Young, creator of Everyday Poems For City Sidewalk), and four site specific installations (see Three-Story Drawing Machine by Roman Verostko above) at my alma mater, the Minneapolis College of Art & Design.

The information below is from the Northern Spark Media Kit. The Northern Spark website includes a complete list of events that you can add to your own interactive map that charts your night’s events. You can also download and print this PDF of the Northern Spark Guide listing the details of each installation across the Twin Cities. Hope to see you at this community event for the Arts, public art at its best!



The Nuit Blanche Movement


The idea of a nuit blanche (translated as “white night” or “sleepless night”) is an art event/tradition first seen in St. Petersburg, Russia and Berlin, Germany in the mid 1990s and first named “nuit blanche” in Paris in 2002. Since that time, the idea of the nuit blanche has expanded dramatically becoming a popular art event in cities throughout the world.

Today, a Nuit Blanche event consists of art installations and events in public spaces and museums, art galleries, and other cultural institutions opening their doors free of charge to the public from dusk till dawn. In effect, the host city itself is turned into a de facto art gallery, providing space for art installations, performances (music, film, dance, performance art), social gatherings, and other activities.

Besides St. Petersburg, Berlin, and Paris, nuit blanche events have taken place in Toronto, New York City, Tel Aviv, Santa Monica, and Montreal.



Northern Spark 2011


Spearheaded by Northern Lights.mn, Northern Spark is the first ever nuit blanche event in the Midwest. Northern Lights.mn is a roving, collaborative, interactive media-oriented, arts agency from the Twin Cities but for the world. It presents innovative art in the public sphere, both physical and virtual, focusing on artists creatively using technology, both old and new, to engender new relations between audiences and artwork and more broadly between people and their built environments.

Northern Spark will take place from June 4 (sundown ~8:55 p.m.) to June 5, 2011 (sunrise ~5:28 a.m.) at various locations along the Mississippi River and surrounding areas in Minneapolis and St. Paul. More than 60 artists from Minnesota, the surrounding area, and select locations across the country will be represented at the event.


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Northern Spark Installation by Deborah Miller, Mill City Silos, Minneapolis, Minnesota, April 2011, photo © Creative Commons by Northern Spark. Some rights reserved.



Northern Spark:
First All Night Take Over Of The Twin Cities



MINNEAPOLIS, May 3, 2011 – It’s no secret Minneapolis St Paul is one of the leading centers of art in the United States. But on June 4 this year, the Twin Cities will join for the first time, the worldwide Nuit Blanche arts movement by hosting “Northern Spark,” the area’s first ever, all-night long arts festival.

For one night only, more than 60 regional and national artists together with the Twin Cities’ arts community will display new art installations at public places and unexpected locations throughout the city. Directed and produced by Northern Lights.mn and funded by the MN State Arts Board, Northern Spark takes place this summer from sunset on June 4 (8:55 p.m.) until the morning of June 5, 2011 (sunrise 5:28 a.m.).

“The Twin Cities has an amazing art culture and reputation,” says Northern Lights director, Steve Dietz. “Our aim is to really showcase that artistic excellence in a way never quite seen before by transforming the cities’ urban landscapes into a Twin Cites-wide art gallery for one special night.” The Northern Spark event will include a wide diversity of art forms and projects including multi-story projections, audio environments with vistas, installations traveling down the Mississippi on barges, houseboats and paddleboats, headphone concerts, and the use of everything from bioluminescent algae and sewer pipes for organs to more traditional media such as banjos and puppets.

One of the most highly anticipated installations is Jim Campbell’s “Scattered Light” from New York’s Madison Square Park, in which LED light bulbs suspended in a cube-shape on high tensile wire blink on and off to recreate the forms of pedestrians’ movements in three dimensions. Other artists involved in the nuit blanche include Christopher Baker, Phillip Blackburn, Body Cartography, Bart Buch, Barbara Claussen, Wing Young Huie, Debora Miller, Minneapolis Art on Wheels, Ali Momeni, Janaki Ranpura, Red76, Rigo 23, Jenny Schmid, Andréa Stanislav, Piotr Szyhalski, Diane Willow, Roman Verostko, Liu Xuguang, Marcus Young, and others.

The event is a collaboration — rarely seen on this kind of scale — of more than 40 partners each of which will sponsor one or more projects for the duration of the night. The goal is to showcase the urban splendor of the Twin Cities in a unique way, introducing a broad and diverse audience to innovative local and national talent in an inspiring journey through the night.


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NS2011_DeboraMiller

Northern Spark Installations: Wing Young Huie (TOP) by Nomad World Pub, St. Paul, Minnesota, Deborah Miller (BOTTOM) at Mill City Silos, Minneapolis, Minnesota, April 2011, © Creative Commons by Northern Spark. Some rights reserved.


-posted on red Ravine, Saturday, June 4th, 2011

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Ellen Fullman In MN On McKnight Visiting Composer Fellowship -- Patterns Of Long String Instrument

Ellen Fullman In MN On McKnight Visiting Composer Fellowship — Patterns Of Long String Instrument, BlackBerry Shots, St. Paul, Minnesota, November 2010, photo © 2010 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.


November opens Season 22 of the Strange Attractors series at Fine Arts Studio 677. Strange Attractors is a Festival of eXperimental InterMedia Arts located on the campus of Metro State in St. Paul, Minnesota. The program was created and is run by musician/composer David Means, Associate Professor and Coordinator of the Program in Experimental Music and Intermedia Arts. The venue has a long history of presenting innovative, cutting edge musicians and artists. Last night, composer Ellen Fullman deconstructed the last 30 years of her work and presented history and video on the development of the Long String Instrument.

In 1981, Ellen created an installation of dozens of wires, 50+ feet in length, tuned in Just Intonation and bowed with rosin-coated fingers. It takes 70 feet of space and 10 hours to set up the Long String Instrument for performance and Ellen sometimes brings in engineers to help her anchor the hardware. When the performance begins, only the strings are lit up as she slow walks the stage, making it look as though she is floating on air. The results are a meditative blend of music and sound art, the experience compared to standing inside a giant grand piano. Or, as Biba Kopf wrote in The Wire, “like you are inside some cyclopean subterranean grotto…jeweled walls glistening with an alien lustre.”


In her Artist Statement, Ellen says:

My music explores natural tunings based on the physics of vibrating strings. Through observation, I have determined that there is an optimal bowing speed in which strings speak most clearly in the longitudinal mode, presumably based on a relationship to the speed of the wave moving through the material, which in turn regulates the pace of the walking performer. In the late 1980s I conceived of a graphic notation system that still functions as the basis for scoring my work, where timing and coordination of parts are determined by distance walked.

It is always a treat to be privy to the history and process of a writer or artist. And after the presentation, we discussed Ellen’s brush with Elvis in Memphis (her hometown) at age 1 and the rigors of traveling and working on the road. Ellen also spent time in the Twin Cities after graduating from the Kansas City Art Institute. Her 1980 piece Streetwalker, took us back to the red-light district of Hennepin Avenue in Minneapolis, where she walked down the street in platform shoes and a sheet metal skirt rigged to spring musical tones with each step. Last night’s presentation ended with Ellen’s current work and the spiritual and meditative aspects in the evolution of the Long String Instrument.

Ellen Fullman has collaborated with composer Pauline Oliveros, choreographer Deborah Hay, and has performed in venues in Europe, Japan, and the Americas. She is in Minnesota on a McKnight Visiting Composer Fellowship and currently resides at Bethany Lutheran College in Mankato. Ellen has three more performances coming up at the college on November 15th, 16th, and 17th. If she’s ever in your area of the planet, check out her performance art. It is an inspiration.


Deep Listening Band and the Long String Instrument performance of Suspended Music – TexasTravelTexture by Ellen Fullman with Nigel Jacobs and Elise Gould, and Deep Listening Band: Pauline Oliveros, Stuart Dempster, and David Gamper, posted on YouTube by Ellen Fullman.


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Minnesota State Fair Poster Art, detail of art by painter Leo Stans, St. Paul, Minnesota, June 2009, all photos © 2009 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.

 
 

The century-old Grandstand stood quietly in the distance when I rounded the corner by the historic J. V. Bailey House. I was driving to St. Paul for an ice cream social at the Minnesota State Fairgrounds. The occasion was the June 11th unveiling of the 2009 State Fair commemorative painting by Belle Plaine artist Leo Stans.

Summer cottonwood flew through the air when I lined up for my root beer float. A few minutes later, I walked into the historic Bailey house and literally bumped into my friend Teri who works at the Fair. She introduced me to her coworkers, we talked a little Minnesota State Fair history, then she led me over to meet the artist.

Like poet Ted Kooser, Minnesota artist Leo Stans started out as an insurance salesman, dabbled in art, and began painting full-time in 1980. He painted wildlife, golf courses (he’s an avid golfer), and eventually transitioned into historical street scenes. In a newspaper quote, he said: “My thinking was that if you wanted to buy something nostalgic or historical, the only thing being offered was small towns and barns. I thought I would create a niche.”

According to an article by John Brewer in the St. Paul Pioneer Press, Stans said he had been trying for the last 5 years to get a booth at the Grandstand to sell his work during the Fair. Ironically, that led to his applications making their way to the Fair staff and to his being awarded the 6th commission in the commemorative series last November.

 
 

Artist Leo Stans & MN State Fair 2009 Commemorative Oil Painting, St. Paul, Minnesota, June 2009, all photos © 2009 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.Minnesota State Fair Commemorative Oil Painting (Detail), St. Paul, Minnesota, June 2009, all photos © 2009 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.

Artist Leo Stans & Minnesota State Fair 2009 Commemorative Oil Painting, Minnesota State Fair Commemorative Oil Painting (Detail), St. Paul, Minnesota, June 2009, all photos © 2009 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.

 
 

I shook Leo’s hand and immediately began asking him about the 28″ x 42″ oil painting. He said he did the research for summer’s “Great Minnesota Get-Together” in the dead cold of a Midwest winter. It took him 3 weeks to sketch it out, another 3 weeks to put paint to canvas.

He explained to me that the painting moves back in time as you walk from the Grandstand to the Ferris wheel, blending clothing styles of the past with those of the present. And like Hitchcock who appears in many of his films, Stans paints himself into all of his paintings. (If you stare long enough at the top photograph, you can spot him walking down the Midway.)

For many, the Minnesota State Fair is about making memories, a family tradition going back for generations. By choosing the 100th birthday of the Grandstand as the central theme for 2009, and including other historic icons like the carousel and mascot Fairchild, Stans captures and brings those memories to life through paint.

I’m a history buff and drawn to his dreamlike Twin Cities street scenes. The 2009 Fair painting has much the same feel and has been reproduced on postcards, posters, and buttons with proceeds benefiting the Minnesota State Fair Foundation. (The State Fair has a long history of being independently funded and has not received government appropriations since 1949.)

 
 

  Minnesota State Fair Postcard, St. Paul, Minnesota, June 2009, all photos © 2009 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved. Minnesota State Fair Poster Art (II), St. Paul, Minnesota, June 2009, all photos © 2009 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.

Minnesota State Fair Postcard, Minnesota State Fair Poster Art (II), St. Paul, Minnesota, June 2009, all photos © 2009 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.
 
 

The Minnesota State Fair 2009 begins August 27th and ends September 7th. And if you become one of the Friends of The Minnesota State Fair you will receive exclusive benefits including gate tickets, pre-sale access to Grandstand shows, bricks, benches, and more. Purchasing a $50 Yellow Ribbon package by August 1st, 2009 grants you the following:
 

  • Friends of the Fair card
  • FunFair news
  • Invitation to annual pre-fair event
  • Hospitality invitation to J.V. Bailey House during the State Fair
  • 2 State Fair and/or parking admission tickets
  • 1 State Fair annual pin
  • 1 Blue Ribbon Bargain Book with 100 great State Fair deals

 

There are also Green, Red, Blue, Purple, and Silver packages to choose from. Liz and I are looking forward to this year. Happy Fair going!

 
 

Belle Plaine Artist Leo Stans & MN State Fair Commemorative Oil Painting, St. Paul, Minnesota, June 2009, all photos © 2009 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.

 

 

Thanks to Leo Stans for permission to photograph him and his work, to Teri for reminding me about the art event, and to John for providing me with the newspaper clipping from the June 12th St. Paul Pioneer Press article by John Brewer – Painting Celebrates Fond Fair Memories.

 
 

Minnesota State Fair Space Tower, St. Paul, Minnesota, June 2009, all photos © 2009 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.

 

 

Below are links to past red Ravine posts and photographs about the history, foods on-a-stick, and fun available to all at the Minnesota State Fair. And if you check the comments on several of the posts, they are dripping with little-known Fair facts, trivia, and nostalgia from a mutual friend of ybonesy’s and mine, Teri Blair. For more of the Fair experience, you can also view my Minnesota State Fair Series on Flickr.

 
 
 

 

-posted on red Ravine, Wednesday, July 8th, 2009

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A Little Less War, part of the Everyday Poems for City Sidewalk project, Saint Paul, Minnesota, October 2008, photo © 2008 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.

A Little Less War, part of the Everyday Poems for City Sidewalk project, Saint Paul, Minnesota, October 2008, photo © 2008 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.






A little less war,
A little more peace,
A little less poor,
A little more eats.









I had planned to write another mandala post tonight, but the time got away from me. I’ve been learning to navigate the new WordPress 2.7 release and I think I’m going to like it. It’s faster and more user friendly, and, of course, WordPress support is unprecedented. But it always takes time to learn something new, so I decided to do another short post, more poetry from Everyday Poems for City Sidewalk.

The project, a collaboration between Saint Paul Public Works and Public Art Saint Paul, is the brainchild of Marcus Young, Artist In Residence of the City of Saint Paul, Minnesota. I did a first piece about the project earlier this week (Sidewalk Poetry — Public Art At Its Best) and thought I would post another poem while it’s fresh in my mind.

The untitled poem in the photograph A Little Less War was written by Eyang Wu. If you’d like to take a slow walk down long city sidewalks and view the poetry for yourself, here’s a link to the map of the section of Saint Paul where the poetry is located. And while you are slow walking in the December chill, remember — Awaken, Awaken, Awaken! Do not waste this precious life!


Eyang Wu is a retired Chinese opera artist originally from Hangzhou, China, and now a resident of the United States. His poem was first written on a kite and flown at Saint Paul’s annual Earth Day celebration, Wishes for the Sky.

    — bio from the book Everyday Poems for City Sidewalk


-posted on red Ravine, Friday, December 5th, 2008

-related to posts: Got Poetry? (National Poem In Your Pocket Day)Celebrate Poetry (Let Me Count The Ways

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Sidewalk Poetry, part of the Everyday Poems for City Sidewalk project, Saint Paul, Minnesota, October 2008, photo © 2008 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.

Sidewalk Poetry, part of the Everyday Poems for City Sidewalk project, Saint Paul, Minnesota, October 2008, photo © 2008 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.









A tourist
in the cathedral
of your silence
I am reverent
for all the wrong
reasons









The untitled poem in the photograph Sidewalk Poetry was written by Esmé Evans. It was taken during a celebration of Everyday Poems for City Sidewalk. The project is a unique collaboration between Saint Paul Public Works and Public Art Saint Paul, and is the brainchild of Marcus Young, Artist In Residence of the City of Saint Paul, Minnesota.

We attended the opening in Frogtown on a beautiful Fall day last October. The project is the first of its kind in this country and is largely due to Minnesota citizens who, in spite of the economic downturn, continue to support and fund the Arts.

We purchased the hand-bound book created and designed by Aki Shibata and Marcus Young, and had many of the poets sign their poems. It’s important to note that the judging was anonymous — poems were chosen on their own merit, without knowing the poet’s age, experience, or background. The poets in the book come from all walks of life, and include children and teens whose poetry is now letterpressed into Saint Paul’s city sidewalks.

I hope to do a future piece with more photographs from the opening. Until then, I’ll continue to post snippets from the Sidewalk Poetry series.


Esmé Evans works for the State of Minnesota. She is married and has two sons. She and her family have lived in Saint Paul since 1984, and can’t imagine living anywhere else.

    — bio from the book Everyday Poems for City Sidewalk


-posted on red Ravine, Tuesday, December 2nd, 2008

-related to posts: Got Poetry? (National Poem In Your Pocket Day)Celebrate Poetry (Let Me Count The Ways)

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