The all-night Twin Cities art festival Northern Spark returns once again with the theme of climate, this year running all along the Green Line. At one end Mizna and The Soap Factory will present a mesmerizing 10-foot-round sculpture by Kuwaiti artist Monira Al Qadiri, who’s featured in Mizna’s recent environment-themed journal issue with a spotlight on her first Alien Technology piece in Dubai.

‘Alien Technology’ II is a new frontier for Mizna, undertaken locally with fabrication by specialist craftsman Trever Nicholas and a long-term exhibition after the festival at co-presenter The Soap Factory.
The project will start out at this year’s Northern Spark Arts Festival from June 10th sunset to June 11th sunrise. During the festival the piece will be located at The Commons Park by U.S. Bank Stadium, 425 Portland Ave S, Minneapolis, Mn 55415. After the festival the piece will be relocated outside of The Soap Factory (514 2nd St SE, Minneapolis 55414) until mid to late next year.


“Big oil”–images of faceless corporations, drilling operations in far-flung territories, pipelines and spills, the Gulf of Mexico, the Persian Gulf, global industries, limited resources. But this sublimely out-of-proportion sculpture of an oil drill bit alludes to much more. Come step into its monolithic orbit; conjure its multiple meanings through a close encounter.

Alien Technology II is Kuwaiti artist Monira Al Qadiri’s second large-scale piece about the Gulf’s- and her own family’s- pearl diving past, the massive oil industry that displaced it, and their shared environments, narratives and aesthetics–pearls and oil are two rare, uniquely iridescent materials. Their physical and geographic overlaps suggest deeper entwinements the artist draws us to explore.

The Gulf pearl industry is invisible to most, a forgotten history after the economic transformation triggered by oil. But for possibly 2,000 years previous, the coastal Gulf economy was largely based on pearls. Pearl diving, trading, even pearl music: culture founded on a coveted resource, like oil.

With entrancing colors and strange appendages, Al Qadiri’s giant shimmering drill bit also evokes bioluminescent marine life, or some futuristic organic machine–alien technology, forged here through a history of pearls, an era of oil, and an environmental future open and unknown.



Monira Al Qadiri is a Kuwaiti visual artist born in Senegal and educated in Japan. In 2010, she received a Ph.D. in inter-media art from Tokyo University of the Arts, where her research was focused on the aesthetics of sadness in the Middle-East stemming from poetry, music, art and religious practices. Her work explores unconventional gender identities, petro-cultures and their possible futures, as well as their legacies of corruption. She is also part of the artist collective GCC.


Mizna, founded in the Twin Cities nearly 20 years ago, publishes the biannual lit journal Mizna: Prose, Poetry, and Art Exploring Arab America, the only publication of its kind. Mizna also produces the annual Twin Cities Arab Film Festival, one of the largest and oldest in the country, offers Arabic and drumming classes and workshops, and presents other multidisciplinary art projects and community events involving a diverse range of local, national, and international Arab artists and thinkers. More at


From sunset on June 10 to sunrise on June 11, Northern Spark 2017 is a free all-night art festival exploring the effects of climate change through participatory projects happening in neighborhoods along Metro Transit’s Green Line, connecting Minneapolis and St. Paul. Experience the largest Northern Spark yet, with nearly 70 art projects organized around neighborhood nodes: Cedar Riverside/West Bank, Weisman Art Museum/East Bank, Little Africa/Snelling, Rondo/Lexington, and Little Mekong/ Western. In downtown Minneapolis the festival moves from its usual river location to The Commons, the new green space at Portland and 5th, and culminates in Saint Paul at Union Depot, the Green Line terminus in Lowertown.

Since 2011 thousands of Minnesotans and visitors have enjoyed Northern Spark, an annual all-night arts festival illuminating public spaces and streets of Minneapolis and St. Paul with video projections, temporary installations and experimental performances. Northern Spark is produced by Northern, a Twin Cities arts organization whose work ranges from large-scale public art platforms like Northern Spark to Art(ists) On the Verge, a yearlong mentorship program for 5 emerging artists working with innovative uses of technology. They support artists in the creation and presentation of art in the public sphere, such as at St. Paul’s Union Depot (Amateur Intelligence Radio), “choir karaoke” at the Minnesota State Fair (Giant Sing Along) and most recently Words For Winter, programming poetry into the construction landscape along Nicollet Mall. Through projects such as Ruination: City of Dust, a location-based environmental mystery game played on bicycles along Minnehaha Creek, and the monthly climate conversation series, Anthropocene Awareness Association, their work helps audiences explore expanded possibilities for civic engagement through art.


Presented by The Film Society of Minneapolis St. Paul2017 Minnesota Music Summit (April 20-22), and the Soap Factory

Head to The Soap Factory for a music video experience, featuring a curated selection of some of the best national, international and Minnesota Made videos, projected on surfaces throughout the gallery space. Featuring live performances by Gramma’s Boyfriend and Graveyard Club, beer from Indeed Brewing, exclusive Indeed Beer-flavored gelato made by Pinstripes Catering, food trucks, and more.



Poliça “Wedding” by Isaac Gale

Sonny Knight & The Lakers “Sooner or Later” by Erik Nelson

Bionik (feat. Lizzo) “Ball Like Beijing” by Powerhouse Animation

The Stress of Her Regard “Class Warfare” by Ilya Simakov

Tyte Jeff “1952” by Paul Danhauser

Fraea “Criminal” by Maria Juranic

Haley Bonar “Kismet Kill” by Nicole Brending

deM atlaS “Perfect Day” by Samiera Abou-Nasr

BOBGOBLIN “DANGER” by Hop Litzwire

Graveyard Club “Cellar Door” by TJ Schwingle

Sister Species “Star” by Jack Davis and Eli Edleson Stein

P.O.S. “Lanes” by Mercies May

“In the Morning” by Yuriy Chernykh

The Royal Oui “All About You” by Allison Beda

Elohim “Hallucinating” by Megan Park Rio

Wolta “Shotgun” by Pit Baumgartner

“When You’re a Woman” by Jesse Fox

Falcor “Alive” by Paul Jerndal


The Soap Factory Presents: Here Comes Jesus: A Video Series by Joshua McGarvey. The artist will be releasing the video series overtime on the Soap Factory’s blog leading up to a final video to be screened in the Soap Factory’s lower level on April 15th.

Jesus is a crinkled mirror. Jesus is Play-Doh. Jesus invented a table. Stemming from one scene in Mel Gibson’s film about the crucifixion of Jesus in which the Christian messiah is shown building a table for chairs, the series embraces the ambiguous identity of god’s only son. Here Comes Jesus probes the westernization of the religious figure Jesus. Absurdity ensues as narrative and metaphor are conformed to relate to the artist’s own experience.

Here Comes Jesus is directly inspired by the fact that Jesus didn’t leave home until he was 30. As stated in Jesus Christ: Insight, Volume 2, “His childhood and the growing-up process, like his birth, were necessary, though incidental, means to an end.” Between the ages of twelve and thirty, we don’t know what Jesus was doing, and no one seems to care. Joshua McGarvey’s video series offers a thoughtful rendering of Jesus’ developmental years.

Release dates of videos:

March 8 : Part 01 & 02

March 15 : Part 03

March 22 : Part 04

March 29 : Part 05 & 06

April 5  : Part 07, 08, 09

April 12 : Part 10

April 14 : Part 11

April 15, Screening at the Soap Factory: Part 12

The Residency exchange is a 1-2 month placement program, providing emerging and mid-career Minnesota artists support to research, produce, exhibit new works, and explore the artistic, social and cultural context offered by a host city. Upon their return, residency artists will share their experiences and any new work through an artist talk and studio visit with one of The Soap Factory’s established curatorial advisors.

In 2018, artists from each of these partner programs will be offered a 1-3 month residency opportunity at The Soap Factory, supported by our staff in documentation, installation, critique and presentation.

Each international exchange will be unique and aim to provide programming and networking opportunities in addition to travel and material support. For all residency artists, becoming part of a distinct network of cultural establishments, conversations, and communities will enhance the experience of making work in a new city, supported by a valued partnership organization.  

We are interested in conversations, experimentation, and long-running relationships; Residency artists are welcome to re-apply to future residencies at The Soap Factory to explore their projects further, with possible opportunities to exhibit in our galleries.   

Sweden + Minnesota Exchange

Open call: March 20 – May 3, 2017, 3:00PM

Residency dates: August 1st – September 3rd


The Soap Factory is excited to partner with Kutlivera to bring four emerging and mid-career Minnesota-based artists to Tranås, Sweden to participate in a month-long residency at their organization.

This residency is about TIME and PLACE, an opportunity to reflect and cultivate ideas through experience and exchange. Artists will be given opportunities to learn about their host city, meet other artists, and space to work independently or collaboratively in their studios. Artists of any practice are welcome to apply (visual, performance, literary, dance, interdisciplinary, new media), but please keep in mind that this residency might not provide the logistics and time to create large-scale pieces.   

Artists are asked to prepare to discuss or share their experiences during a public artist talk and private studio visit shortly after their return, organized by The Soap Factory.

Click here for information on info sessions.



Kultivera operates international cultural programs that are physical, social and creative; that stimulate and inspire both the artists and the local community. Kultivera creates cross-border meetings between artists, community, and industry that allow different areas to fertilize each other in mutual interaction. Kultivera’s idea is to connect several European cultures, and promote democracy, quality, innovation, diversity, and cultural development.

The artist is not bound or isolated to a specific location or place, but is inserted in a typical Swedish small-town situations where they can operate internationally through the local.

More information about Kultivera’s organization and residency programs can be found on their about page.


About Tranås

Tranås is an average sized Swedish town not yet a hundred years old, but with a history that stretches as far back as the middle ages to the homestead. Tranås is situated by the mouth of Svartån (Black River) entering the river Sommen. The name Tranås is mentioned in 1407 when the knight Karl Magnusson (Iron Foot) bequeaths Tranås to Vadstenas monastery; specifically referred to salmon fishing at Tranås mill. In the 1700s, the Tranås mill became a major hub located  where several county roads crossed each other. In the 1800s the community grew slowly and for a period was called  Lövstad.Tranås became a town in the early 20th century, when the fur and timber industry became important in the district due to the abundance of water from lake Sommen and Svartån (Black river). Today, Tranås is known for furniture design and manufacturing, all of which started in 1885, when the first wooden chair was manufactured. It was then, that the railroad was built going through the area creating the need for a station, which then established Tranås as a town which then became a city in 1919.


New Småland Project

Kultivera is connected with the New Småland project. New Småland is an interregional art project that was initiated as a collaboration between four art institutions, three regions, and a university in Småland. New Småland’s ambition is to formulate long-term relationships, experiment, and create conditions for critical and cultural sustainability. This idea is based on locate and connect artists and organizers in the three regions. Regardless of economic and institutional circumstances each are treated by the various stakeholders as equal resources and knowledge nodes in investigating local and regional issues. Working crosswise between artists and institutions, and combining local knowledge with international contemporary art, design, and critical thinking opens possibilities to explore together and rethink the political, social, and aesthetic landscape of Småland.

The Minnesota-Sweden reconnection will be apart of the New Småland project. A great opportunity for Minnesotan artist/curators and The Soap Factory to work with one of Sweden’s most interesting curatorial projects which collaborates with several exciting institutes in the region. Bringing different contemporary perspectives to new and old Småland.


Support + Costs

What Soap Factory is providing, what Kultivera is providing, what the artist needs to cover

The Soap Factory and Kultivera will be supporting the following costs:

-Travel (flight and train ticket to and from airport)


-Working Studios

-Food Stipend

-Material Stipend

Artists are expected to cover any additional expenses during your residency. The Soap Factory staff will be working with you to travel.


How to apply:

This is an open call to participate in the Kultivera + Soap Factory residency program. All applications must be submitted through See eligibility below and expectations below.

To help you prepare, use the following checklist.

What we want you to include:

-First and foremost, are you eligible? Yes! Awesome! No? That’s ok, we will have more opportunities for you in the future :).

-Updated CV or Resume

-Website or Online portfolio link

-You will be asked to provide the following information: Name
, Email
, Phone
, Address
 – don’t know your new address, go outside and turn around!

-5-10 color images of your work

-Video samples (if you are providing, not required), limited to 3

-Artist Statement – what, why, who are you as an artist.

-Statement of Intent – why do you want to do this!? Other than visiting a beautiful city, please.

-Proposal – what project(s) will you be working on?


*The Soap Factory is committed to diversity in audience, staff and programming. To assist us in achieving our diversity goals, please indicate your ethnicity or cultural background. Note that responses to this query are not a factor in showing at The Soap Factory, but a measurement of how well we are promoting our submission process to diverse communities.

*All application materials must be submitted in English.

*Artists selected for the Kultivera residency exchange program will be notified by June 3rd.

*Please, do not call or email to check on your submission.



Artists must be 18+ years old. Open to individual artists, one – four person artist collectives, or curator partnering with one to four artists. Project can work in any medium or combination of medium. Artists looking to participate cannot be currently enrolled (at the time of the residency: July- August, 2017) in an education institution that provides study abroad/residency programs. For this call, all applicants must currently be residents of the state of Minnesota.

Please read the following:

The Soap Factory and Kultivera will be providing artists with travel, housing, food stipend, and  material stipend. Artist are responsible for any additional costs. The Soap Factory provides a promotional platform, interviews, and artist talks. We do not provide insurance coverage for work created during or following your residency. All work is shown at the artist’s own risk.


Submissions are only accepted online through the submission process, deadline is May 3rd , 2017, 3:00PM pm. Technical help from or The Soap Factory staff must be inquired before 3pm on the day of the deadline.

The Soap Factory encourages, but do not require you to publicize your profile on You do not have to have an existing, but must create a profile to submit through

We do NOT accept e-mailed submissions OR mailed in submissions.

Work Samples:

We accept proposals for the following type of work;

Visual Arts – Please include a minimum of 5 examples of work, maximum of 10. Any form of visual art is encouraged; 2D, Sculpture, Installation, New Media, Video, etc. If you are proposing video work, please include 1-2 work examples.  Include the following information with work: Title, medium, size, year, and length if video.  

Performance – Please include 1-2 video examples if you have them. If not, please include 1-2 photos and description from any past performances. Include the following information with work: Title, location, year.

Sound – Please include at least 2-3 sound examples, maximum 5. Include the following information with work: Title, length, year.

In addition to work examples, we require an artist statement, proposal, and current CV or Resume.

*You will not be able to upload files to apply for our call after May 3rd.

Before Applying:

Artist Statement:

Your artist statement might address the following:

*What is your background as an artist?

*How would you describe your work as an artist, and how would you describe your process?

*What do you see as the future of your art form and how does your work contribute to that?

*How would this opportunity fit into your goals as an artist?

Minimum of 500 words.


Statement of Intent:

Your statement of intent might address the following:

*Why are you interested in participating in a residency program? Specifically, why this residency opportunity?

*What are you hoping to accomplish with this residency experience?

*If you are working as a collaborative, how will you be working together?

*Where does this residency experience fit into any goals as a cultural provider of content, time, and place?



Please outline the specifics of your project and how you might use the residency as a tool to experiment and research. If you are looking to use the residency as a cultivator of ideas, give us an idea of what you hope to get out of the experience, any projects that you are brainstorming and could see this experience help develop ideas?

Minimum of 500 words.



Please include your C.V. or resume; education background, past exhibitions, publications, grants received, employment, etc.
Please attach as pdf file titled “CV” or “Resume”.

Minnesota based Artists interested in applying for the Minnesota + Sweden residency exchange are invited to attend one of three informational Sessions.

Twin Cities – April 25th at 6:00PM at The Soap Factory

514 2nd St. SE

Minneapolis, MN 55414


Rochester – April 26th at 6:00PM at Rochester Art Center

Lower Level Green Room

40 Civic Center Drive SE
Rochester, MN 55904


Duluth – April 27th at 6:00 at Duluth Art Institute

4th floor, Duluth Depot

506 W Michigan St

Duluth, MN 55802




Open call: March 20 – May 3, 2017, 3:00PM

Residency dates: August 1st – September 3rd


The Soap Factory is excited to partner with Kutlivera to bring four emerging and mid-career Minnesota-based artists to Tranås, Sweden to participate in a month-long residency at their organization.

This residency is about TIME and PLACE, an opportunity to reflect and cultivate ideas through experience and exchange. Artists will be given opportunities to learn about their host city, meet other artists, and space to work independently or collaboratively in their studios. Artists of any practice are welcome to apply (visual, performance, literary, dance, interdisciplinary, new media), but please keep in mind that this residency might not provide the logistics and time to create large-scale pieces.

Artists are asked to prepare to discuss or share their experiences during a public artist talk and private studio visit shortly after their return, organized by The Soap Factory.




Join local artist and writer, Camille Erickson in a public art project for Arts Advocacy Day! Your role is simple. Pick up a screen printed postcard that states, “I need art in my community because…” and respond through words or drawings on the back. These will then be hand delivered to your Senator and Representative on February 28th at Minnesota’s Arts Advocacy Day.

Arts Advocacy Day is a day when artists, administrators, advocates, and community members come together to visit our elected officials and thank them for their support of accessible, public arts funding. We also take this time to encourage legislators to continue protecting state arts funding.

Stop by any time during these open hours to pick up postcards, fill one out on site, or help screen print postcards (no experience necessary).

Thursday, February 9 from 5PM to 8PM
Sunday, February 12 from 12PM to 3PM
The Soap Factory (you can check out the Biennial too!)
514 2nd St. SE
Minneapolis MN 55414
If you’re interested in distributing postcards to your networks, email Camille at

By collecting opinions about why art is important to the people of Minnesota, we can develop a creative platform where all are empowered to participate in political decisions and advocate for lasting funding that makes community art possible. Everyone has the right to participate in legislative processes, but we hope to make it creative and fun. In a year filled with threats to the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA), National Endowment for the Humanities and the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, by sharing the stories about art’s impact on each of us personally we can demonstrate to our elected officials how vital this funding is.

This project is made possible by the generous support of Minnesota Citizens for the Arts as well as The Minneapolis Art Lending Library, The Soap Factory, and Minnesota Center for Book Arts


Healing Craft Night

No matter your cultural background, religion, political viewpoint, age, race, gender, class, or size, you are human first. And while the preceding categories may separate us, craft is an act that unites us. People across the spectrum make work by hand.

Craft not only unites us, it heals us, too – a therapeutic act that calms and restores us by bringing focus to the act at hand. No matter your identity, each of us could benefit from a little de-stressing.

Come replenish your creative spirit and celebrate what we have in common at the Healing Craft Night, a monthly gathering where we gather to work with our hands. Sew, carve, knit, or even draw or collage – whatever activity you love and can carry with you.

To learn more about Healing Craft Nights and to stay up-to-date on upcoming events –  Join the Facebook Group here!


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How do you communicate a message 10,000 years into the future? Theatre ensemble 600 Whale take audiences on a journey through deep time to a radioactive enclave with their upcoming work, “Atomic Priests Live!”
Join the Priests in the Soap Factory basement

Thursday, February 2nd at 9:00PM

Friday, February 3rd at 9:00PM

Saturday, February 4th at 9:00PM

Thursday, February 9th at 9:00PM

Friday, February 10th at 9:00PM

Saturday, February 11th at 9:00PM

$10. Email to reserve tickets.


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Please join us at the Soap Factory for one of many Writers Resist: Voices United events that will be held throughout the Twin Cities and the country on Sunday, January 15. This series was developed in partnership with PEN America, and will serve as a fundraiser for the ACLU. Our goal is to unite writers to combat oppression and social injustice, and to celebrate compassion, equality, and the ideals of our democracy. For more information on Writers Resist events in the Twin Cities, visit their website:

Featured Readers: Mary Austin Speaker, David Bayliss, Pamela Fletcher, Michael Kleber-Diggs, Ashleigh Lambert, Gretchen Marquette, Chris Martin, Lara Mimosa Montes, Rachel Moritz, Ka Vang, Clarence White and Elisabeth Workman.


BLEED&BURN, Catalytic Flag Making


Organized by Alexa Horochowski and Crystal Quinn
Exhibition runs from January 14th through February 12th in gallery 4
Opening reception is January 14th from 7-11pm

Readings by poet Paul Dickinson and writer Jordan Thomas at 8:30 pm
Performance by Gay Henry at 9 pm

Birthed by post-election funk, Bleed & Burn is a catalytic flag-making exhibition/action. This exhibition is a response to the crass, misogyny, racism, xenophobia, and other base instincts that got expressed during the election, and are now exemplified in the president-elect and his cabinet of horrors.

Thirteen artists will create twelve, standard-size flags that will be exhibited in the basement gallery of The Soap Factory, January 14-21. Each flag will in turn be burned independently by each artist at a location of their choosing (post-exhibition). The flags and documentation of each burning will be made into a book published at Beyond Repair, book shop and publishing site located in the Midtown Global market, 920 E Lake St, Minneapolis.

A flag-making workshop will take place at Beyond Repair, January 15, 2017, 12-4 pm.

Burning a flag is considered “symbolic speech” and protected by the First Amendment of the United States Constitution. Citizens are invited to make their own, small flags with personalized statements, to be burned independently in protest and ritual invocation.

Participating Artists:

Katy Collier, Katinka Galanos, Sam Gould, Geoffrey Hamerlinck, Guy Henry, Alexa HorochowskiCrystal Quinn, Channy Leaneagh, Janet Lobberecht, Gudrun LockSarah Petersen, Eunice Pitts, Stephen Rife