Outdoor Installations Are Latest Addition to 10-Day Winter Lineup


January 13, 2017

Tara Niebeling
m: +1 952 270 9478


MINNESOTA – The spirit of The Great Northern, presented by Target, continues to bring people together to celebrate winter as community organizations from Saint Paul and Minneapolis team up for an innovative series of outdoor art installations and performances. Sharing its mission to embrace the cold, The Great Northern is bringing Saint Paul and Minneapolis’ robust arts community into the great outdoors for 10 days of arts programming. From sweeping poetry installations along Nicollet Mall, to ethereal ice and snow sculptures, and movie screens made entirely of ice, there is truly something for everyone to enjoy and celebrate two of Minnesota’s most defining assets, arts and the outdoors.

This is the second programming announcement from The Great Northern, a collaborative winter celebration founded by event leaders from the City of Lakes Loppet Ski Festival, the Saint Paul Winter Carnival, the U.S. Pond Hockey Championships, and Eric Dayton of Askov Finlayson. The Great Northern will also feature rare outdoor dinners and other exciting eating and drinking experiences throughout the 10-day celebration.

“Winter is all around us and it’s a constant source of inspiration for locally-based artists. The ice, the snow, and the cold create a unique canvas that’s as beautiful as it is challenging, and we’re delighted to have the opportunity to bring something new to Saint Paul and Minneapolis,” said Steve Dietz, President and Artistic Director of Northern “We hope these outdoor installations invite Minnesotans to experience snow and art in a new way and deepen their pride in where we live.”

The Great Northern will feature original arts programming, as well as heritage creative events from its founding partners. Programming includes:

Thursday, January 12 – Sunday, February 19

Fire & Ice: A Winter Carnival Art Show
A special exhibition of creations from over 75 local artists. More information here.  

Date: Thursday, January 12 – Sunday, February 19
Thursday, January 12 – Sunday, February 19
Time: Thursday and Friday, 5 – 8 p.m. and Saturday and Sunday, 9 a.m. – 3 p.m.


Thursday, January 26 – Sunday, January 29

Saint Paul Winter Carnival Ice Carving Contest in Rice Park
One of the Saint Paul Winter Carnival’s signature events, these beautiful ice carving masterpieces are created by area artists using an array of tools including knives, chainsaws, and other tools. See the artists at work, competing for prizes and bragging rights. Ice sculpture viewing starts at the beginning of the competition and goes through Saturday, February 4.

Date: Thursday, January 26 – Sunday, January 29
Location: Rice Park
Time: Multi-Block Competition: 7 p.m. Thursday, January 26 – 7 p.m. Saturday, January 28
Individual Block Competition: 9 a.m. – 3 p.m. Sunday, January 29
Cost: Free


Friday, January 27 – Sunday, January 29

Minnesota State Snow Sculpting Contest
The competition begins on Friday, January 27 at 8 a.m. and ends Sunday, January 29 at 1 p.m. Snow sculpture viewing starts at the beginning of the competition and goes through Saturday, February 4. For more information, please visit

Date: Friday, January 27 – Sunday, January 29
Location: Minnesota State Fairgrounds
Time: 9 a.m. – 10 p.m. daily
Cost: Free


Saturday, January 28 – Sunday, January 29

2017 Winter Jazz Festival
The 2017 Winter Jazz Festival is an outdoor music festival across Saint Paul with performances by The Rodney Ruckus Group, Jon Weber & Friends, and more. On Sunday, the 2017 Winter Jazz Festival will overflow into Rice Park with UCare Sunday Jazz beginning at noon on the Treasure Island Entertainment Stage. Come and enjoy live music from the Walker West Ensemble and McNasty Brass Band, and delight in the ice carvings and all that Rice Park has to offer. For more information, please visit

Date: Saturday, January 28 – Sunday, January 29
Location: St. Paul Hotel, Street Space at TPT, Vieux Carre, Golden’s Lowertown, Black Dog Café, and Rice Parks
Time: Performances start at 5 p.m. Saturday, January 28, see website for complete schedule
Cost: $15


Sunday, January 29

B-Lectric Presented by Northern and Barbette
Saint Paul and Minneapolis-based interactive arts organization, Northern and Uptown’s French bistro, Barbette, are teaming up to construct custom ice walls outside the bistro. At sunset, these ice walls will become projection screens for a variety of light-based art, including:

  • Joshua McGarvey’s Ice Fall-Feel the Change, which allows audiences to feel glaciers calving as they lean back into sound beds
  • Short films from Wapikoni, a mobile recording studio that travels to First Nation communities in Canada
  • A documentary compilation by local curator Graci Horne, showcasing new footage from the ongoing pipeline resistance at Standing Rock, North Dakota

Additionally, Art Shanty Projects will transform surfaces into creative community spaces that are part art gallery and part social experiment. B-Lectric will aim to engage participants in story writing with Sesa-station Story Shanty, encourage free-spirited dancing with The Dance Shanty, and connect writers and readers of literature to share performances with the Vehicle of Expression. Chef Shanty by will combine art and food by featuring maple syrup lollipops made on-site, tastes of winter libations, and a creative outlet to warm your artistic soul. DJ Jake Rudh and Infiammati Fire Circus will provide the music and entertainment, and Barbette’s yet-to-open champagne bar, Trapeze, will be open for preview. For more information, please visit

Date: Sunday, January 29
Location: Barbette, 1600 W Lake St., Minneapolis, MN
Time: 4:30 – 9 p.m., projections begin at 5:30 p.m.
Cost: Free


Monday, January 30 – Friday, February 5

 Living Banners and Words for Winter Presented by Northern with support from The Minneapolis Foundation and the Downtown Improvement District
Join The Minneapolis Foundation and the Downtown Council as they team up with the creators of Northern Spark to bring Living Banners by Piotr Szyhalski to the Nicollet Mall. This sweeping, poetry-inspired art installation will be on display January 30 – February 5, “wrapping” Nicollet Mall between 12th and 5th streets, along with short poems about winter by local writers displayed on electronic road construction signs. These word-laden works will kick off with a spectacular recorded sound and light show in Peavey Plaza with four showings throughout the evening of January 30. The sound and light shows are presented in partnership with the Minnesota Orchestra and University of Minnesota student engineers. Everyone is invited to bundle up and join the musical magic as part of The Great Northern celebration of all things winter. For more information, please visit

Date: Monday, January 30 – Friday, February 5
Location: Nicollet Mall
Time: All day. Sound and light shows on January 30 are hourly, starting at 5:20 p.m. Final showing at 8:20 p.m. 
Cost: Free


Wednesday, February 1 – Saturday, February 4

The Frozen Film Festival
Presented by the Saint Paul Film Festival, the Second Annual Frozen Film Festival celebrates independent film, while enhancing the global recognition of Saint Paul as an artistic center for the Midwest, as well as a future filmmaking destination and hub for the indie and mainstream world. The mission is to utilize the festival as a catalyst for continued economic growth and stability in the downtown Saint Paul area. For more information, please visit

Date: Wednesday, February 1 – Saturday, February 4
Location: Weyerhaeuser Auditorium and TPT Street Space
Time: Screening times can be found here
Cost: VIP Passes to attend any film or festival event are $99, but individual tickets are also available


Saturday, February 4

Luminary Loppet
Lake of the Isles will be transformed into a luminary wonderland for participants to ski, snowshoe, or stroll around as they experience the breathtaking beauty of the Luminary Loppet. Hundreds of luminaries, the Ice Pyramid, fire dancers, the Enchanted Forest, Ice-Cropolis, Ice-Henge, and Ice-ster Island illuminate the event across the frozen lake, with complimentary cocoa and treats along the way. At the end of the evening, participants can enjoy a free Surly Beer, live music, and more at the REI Luminary Party. Participants must register for the event and receive an official Luminary Loppet glow stick. The REI Luminary Party is free for registered Luminary Loppet participants and $10 for everyone else.

Date: Saturday, February 4
Location: Lake of the Isles
Time: 6 p.m.
Cost: $26/adult and $12/youth through January 31, $30/adult and $20/youth through February 4. Register here.


“The Great Northern brings Saint Paul and Minneapolis together to champion winter for the well-being of our residents and the economic vitality of our communities," said R.T. Rybak, President and CEO of The Minneapolis Foundation and part of The Great Northern leadership team. "Integrating art into this experience is a reason for people to get outside and celebrate the season. We are thrilled to have an opportunity to shine a spotlight on our robust arts community in Saint Paul and Minneapolis. Partnership and a common goal only make us stronger."

For more information about The Great Northern and its partnering organizations, and to sign up for updates, visit and connect with The Great Northern on Facebook and Instagram @TheGreatNorthernFestival, and on Twitter @GreatNorthern.

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About The Great Northern
The Great Northern was created to champion winter and spotlight iconic Minnesota traditions, including the City of Lakes Loppet Ski Festival, the 131-year-old Saint Paul Winter Carnival, and the U.S. Pond Hockey Championships. Its foundational winter experiences and new programming celebrate Minnesota's unique offerings and further enhance the state's reputation as a national destination for winter activity at its best. Presented by Target, The Great Northern is expected to draw more than 350,000 attendees during its first annual run from Thursday, January 26 – Sunday, February 5, 2017.