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Archive for the ‘Lara Roy: Northern Spark with my two young boys’ Category

Swing Hall, Swing All

Friday, March 30th, 2012

The solitary sensation of swinging takes on a new dimension in Keetra Dean Dixon’s collective, high in the sky, swing installation in the skywalk on the MCAD campus. For a full, even swing, all swingers must be in sync. Out of pace swinging results in playful collision.

 Keetra Dean Dixon

Keetra Dean Dixon, an MCAD alumna with a BFA in design, teaches full time at the Maryland Institute College of Art (MICA) in Baltimore, Maryland. Her 2D, 3D, and experimental projects have gained notoriety for their friendly, sincere absurdism. Her objects and installations aim to involve the viewer as an active participant. The pieces create or exemplify heightened emotional moments and often rely on context or unique interactions to complete the work’s narrative.

Sparkler Conversations

Tuesday, March 27th, 2012

Using sparklers, create works of “word art” that will be captured by camera and projected on walls and bridges in the Greenway.

At the Experimental College of the Twin Cities anything can happen . . . like sparkler conversations. Have you always longed for the chance to follow an entomologist? Or academically bask in your love of New York here in Minnesota? Or perhaps teach that strange party trick you picked up in Canada to a group of eager participants?

The experimental college movement started in the late 1960s as a reaction to mainstream education. During the spring of 2006 a group of students created our own ExCo here in Minneapolis–St. Paul. In the spirit of the ExCo movement, it strives to offer the Twin Cities community the opportunity to teach or learn in a space open to alternative education and all kinds of knowledge, including and beyond academics. Anyone can teach or take a class, and every class is free! For more information, check out our website,, where you can find a class list or sign up to teach a class.

letting go

Tuesday, March 27th, 2012

HOTTEA is the tag name of artist Eric Rieger, a critically acclaimed installation artist and designer who creates street art with skeins of yarn in the Twin Cities and internationally. For Northern Spark, HOTTEA employs yarn and recycled materials on an installation project that will add colorful warmth to Target Park and complement Palace of Wonder, the community project undertaken by Patty Mitchell and Robert Lockheed. Come by to see what they’ve done! Stand back to see it all, or move up close and get lost in the details.

Eric Rieger

Eric Rieger (HOTTEA) is a well-known street artist. His stunning typographical installations are both beautifully elaborate and simple. His works have been displayed by invitation throughout the United States and internationally, with recent exhibitions in London, Berlin, and Poland. HOTTEA has exhibited at Minneapolis Future Presence Gallery and HAUS Salon, and he contributed to a series of European television commercials for a Converse shoes campaign. He was invited to design and execute his work prominently at the 2012 Minnesota State Fair, and in 2013 he will exhibit new work with a solo show at the Burnet Art Gallery in downtown Minneapolis. He received his BFA in graphic design from the Minneapolis College of Art and Design.

Capturing Insects

Tuesday, March 27th, 2012

Join us on the Mississippi River road below the Weisman Art Museum as we set out spectacular glowing lights designed to draw both the people and the insects who call this river gorge home. Using large lights and bright white fabric panels, we will draw in the insects from the surrounding river and trees. Here is a chance to view these ephemeral creatures closeup, even magnified. Learn to these local insects and observe a collection of pinned insects from around the world.

Located at the Weisman Art Museum on East River Road Lawn

Presented by the Bell Museum of Natural History with support from Gary Smaby. The Bell Museum is part of the University of Minnesota’s College of Food, Agricultural, and Natural Resource Sciences.

Body Pong

Tuesday, March 27th, 2012

Throw your body into this game of Pong! Using your silhouette instead of paddles in this interactive projection, you will experience the game like never before.

The research and development of Body Pong was supported by the Learning Technologies Center (LTC), a department within the Science Museum of Minnesota (SMM). The project came out of LTC’s work with computer games and game programming, especially related to its strong interest in software that makes programming and sensors more accessible to the public. Aaron Heidgerken, an exhibit programmer at SMM, and Asia Ward, an education program specialist for LTC, developed Body Pong with a hacked Kinect sensor and creative open-source software. Aaron was the key programmer, and Asia modified the game to enhance visitor interaction; she also exhibits and represents the game during events.

Body Pong was developed with the Xbox Kinect sensor, libfreenect, as the open-source driver, Openframeworks and Xcode as the application and programming languages, and OpenKinect as the community support and example library. All these tools make it possible for participants to have touchscreen functionality from 10 to 15 feet away and to interact with the Body Pong ball simply by moving their body. Players can pick up the ball or bump it away. It’s easy to play the game: walk within ten feet of the screen and suddenly you are in it, represented on the screen by your own silhouetted image.

Asia demonstrates Body Pong during Northern Spark to encourage participants, artists, and game designers to learn more about interactive game development and projection programming. Body Pong is an easy, fun, and entertaining way to engage in new creative game technology and programming.

All About Owls

Tuesday, March 27th, 2012

Get in touch with your night owl. Explore the different owls found in Minnesota and their role in the environment. Participants learn the three key features of all raptors and why they are different from other birds. We discuss the positive and negative impact of humans on our environment. Finally, we learn about the Raptor Center at the University of Minnesota and its important work in protecting raptors and the world we share.

Established in 1974 as part of the University of Minnesota College of Veterinary Medicine, the Raptor Center rehabilitates more than 700 sick and injured raptors each year, while identifying emerging environmental issues related to raptor health and populations. An internationally renowned education facility, the Raptor Center trains veterinary students and veterinarians from around the world to become future leaders in raptor medicine and conservation, and also reaches more than 200,000 people annually through its unique public education programs and events.

Presented by the Weisman Art Museum and the Raptor Center

Acoustic Campfire & Bedtime Stories

Tuesday, March 27th, 2012

Acoustic Campfire
Walker Art Center, 1750 Hennepin Avenue S, Open Field
8:58 pm – 1 am
Gather around the campfire for a series of intimate acoustic concerts by The Prairie Fire Lady Choir (9 pm), The White Whales (10 pm), Dear Data (11 pm), and closing with Brian Laidlaw and the Family Trade (12 midnight).

Presented by Walker Art Center

Bedtime Stories
Walker Art Center, 1750 Hennepin Avenue S, Open Field Grove
2 am – 3 am
Wind down your Northern Spark experience with surprise readings by local authors within the intimate space of the James Turrell Sky Pesher. Dreamlike visions await!

Presented by Walker Art Center and Rain Taxi Review of Books



Thursday, January 19th, 2012

Pizza/Calliope—a pizza oven combined with a steam-powered musical organ or calliope, the thermal energy produced by the prior utilized to power the latter. The concept is explored by University of Minnesota students led by associate professor Tetsuya Yamada and assistant term professor Clive Murphy. Pizza/Calliope will feed visitors’ stomachs and ears throughout the night on the Weisman Art Museum Plaza.


Tuesday, January 10th, 2012

The Stone Arch Bridge, overlooking St. Anthony Falls and connecting the east and west banks of the Mississippi River in Minneapolis’s historic milling district, is a primary site of Northern Spark.

University of Minnesota graduate Robin Schwartzman came up with the concept to light the bridge with a short text by Theodor Geisel (better known as Dr. Seuss). THINK AND WONDER, WONDER AND THINK  has become the 2012 festival theme and Robin will create the phrase in large, illuminated letters  that will hang between the spans of the bridge on both sides. Visible for miles, the project will be mounted a week before Northern Spark’s nuit blanche as a clarion call to think and wonder — not only about the upcoming event but about the art of the world around us. As one participant in Northern Spark in 2011 wrote:

“Art is everywhere. The night of Northern Spark transforms your consciousness. Yes, you read the brochure and move from installation to installation, but you’re also always on the lookout for what might be new or different. Suddenly, everything becomes art: the lights under the 35W bridge; couples stealing a kiss under an archway; even spaces that you had never previously considered as anything other than no man’s land. The next morning, the sensation continues, and your senses are heightened for hours.”

Robin Schwartzman

Robin Schwartzman is the CNC Router Technician and an Adjunct Instructor at the University of Minnesota. She was Northern Spark’s Volunteer Coordinator in 2011. She received her MFA from the University of Minnesota and her BFA from Syracuse University. She grew up in eastern Pennsylvania, where she spent her summers working at a local amusement park; seduced by the bright lights and moving colors, she has continued to work at carnivals and theme parks during the past ten years. Her experiences in these whimsical environments provide a basis for her sculptures, installations, and puppetry.