Northern Spark art festival ends, organization behind event dissolving

On Monday, Northern, the local arts organization best known for the annual immersive arts festival Northern Spark, announced the organization is ceasing operation after 15 years.

The Northern Spark festival had most years been an overnight participatory art event at multiple sites, which has happened every year from 2011 to 2022 except for 2020.

Instead of a final Northern Spark this summer, the organization says that it will host a final program in June that will be much smaller in scale than the festival was but will allow people to celebrate and say goodbye.

Additionally, the group will distribute an artist-centered publication in 2024 to honor the work of the last decade and a half.

Northern cited a variety of complex reasons for deciding to dissolve, including the pandemic and overall financial instability connected to a change in philanthropic focus, fewer grants and a decrease in donations.

“We supported artists through 15 years of ambitious public projects that shifted how people experience this place where we live,” Executive Director Sarah Peters said in a press release. “We are proud of this work, and are choosing to close with grace rather than continue to do less with less.”

The press release says that over 15 years, supported 851 artist projects.

Details on the final program in June will be released in February.