Northern Spark 2017!

Bringing the Transition message to the biggest art event of the year

Tens of thousands of people attend the overnight art event called Northern Spark. Visual arts, performance pieces, musical groups, projections – the gamut of artistic expression is on display from 8:59 pm until 5:26 am, at locations all along the light rail Green Line.

This year the theme of the event is Climate Chaos | Climate Rising.

Artists from several Transition groups are creating an art experience that in true Transition fashion will involve the community in its creation and execution. Transition NOW! Twin Cities is a multi-part project that seeks to make some truths visible through tiny books, t-shirts and an art installation:

  • Climate change is real and it’s happening right now
  • Many people already know this and are taking action in their everyday lives to reduce their carbon footprint
  • The commitments we make to transition away from fossil fuels and overconsumption can have an impact for good for the planet and for future generations. This is especially true here in the U.S. where we use so much more energy than other global inhabitants.

If you are taking action in your own life, now is the time to BE the change you want to see in the world. Take part in this event – Become visible.


There are many ways you can participate, both before and during Northern Spark. Even if you haven’t been involved with a Transition group before, if you have made lifestyle changes at home or at work to reduce your fossil fuel usage, to minimize waste or to cut your carbon footprint, this is your chance to be a visible role model for others. Join together with people like yourself who care enough to take action. Use our online sign-up form to sign up for one or more of these activities. Contact a Transition Twin Cities organizer if you have questions.

  1. Wear a T-Shirt @ Northern Spark

We are looking for 100 community members to wear a t-shirt on the night of June 10-11. We are printing 100 t-shirts with glow-in-the-dark logos, then inviting community members who commit to wearing them to Northern Spark to come to one of two Community Days (April 2, May 20) to pick up and customize their shirts with prints or stencils or stickers of actions they are taking to reduce their carbon footprint. This role is vitally important and the heart of the project. You are making a visible statement that you know the climate is changing and you are taking action.

You do not have to stay all night and you do not have to talk to anyone about your shirt if you don’t want to (but we wish you would, if asked).

  1. Participate in a Community Day: April 2 (2-5 pm) or May 20 (6-9 pm) @ Minnesota Center for Book Arts (1011 Washington Ave S., Minneapolis)

Come and work with acclaimed book artist Regula Russelle on the creation of tiny books to be handed out to visitors. Work with professional screenprinters from Minnesota Center for Book Arts on customizing t-shirts. Help with cutting out leaves and attaching stems so they can be attached to trees at the Grove of Life. Come for all or part of the day. Family friendly, kids welcome.

  1. Help design and create the Grove of Life

We will be installing a beautiful grove of trees in Lowertown, St. Paul. We need to locate six 8’ to 10’ tall dead trees (with good horizontal branching) to use for this installation. (Contact us before you chop anything down, though.) Sign up to help with this if you have carpentry or fabrication or design skills to contribute. About a 10 hour commitment between now and May 24.

  1. Help on the night of Northern Spark
  • Assist with installation of the grove of trees
  • Contribute an hour of original musical performance in the Grove
  • Help with audio-visual equipment
  • Engage people in conversation at the Grove and help them put their leaves on the trees
  • Distribute tiny books as you wander through the festival (but not on the light rail or at train stations)
  • Assist with taking down and taking away the tree installation. It will be saved for re-use at events later in the summer.

Thanks to our Partners

TransitionNOW! Twin Cities is pleased to be chosen as a partner with the Center for Energy & The Environment. CEE is a nonprofit organization that promotes responsible use of energy and natural resources. Among other things, they provide enhanced energy audits for homes and businesses that save money and fossil fuels. Learn more about CEE.

We are grateful to be selected to take part in this year’s program by Northern, a nonprofit arts organization whose vision is to transform our sense of what’s possible in public space. Visit Northern Lights.

Thanks to the McKnight Foundation, and other funders, for making this art event – and our participation – possible.