Celebrate Winter and the Arts with The Minneapolis Foundation

Bundle up and enjoy a flurry of art in downtown Minneapolis during The Great Northern.

Minnesota is famous for its ice and snow, and Minnesotans are just as well known for their love of pond hockey, ice fishing, and hot chocolate. Here in Minnesota, we don’t endure the cold—we celebrate it.

Great Northern Logo


That’s why The Minneapolis Foundation is teaming up with a host of community leaders to present The Great Northern, a collaborative winter experience that will celebrate Minnesota’s unique offerings and further enhance the state’s reputation as a national destination for winter activity at its best.

“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.

The Great Northern is 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. Combining an array of new programming with iconic Minnesota traditions, The Great Northern is expected to draw more than 350,000 attendees during its first annual run from Thursday, January 26 through Sunday, February 5, 2017.

The Minneapolis Foundation is partnering with the creators of Northern Spark and the Downtown Council to bring a flurry of art to downtown Minneapolis during The Great Northern:

  • Living Banners and Words for Winter | Nicollet Mall | On display Jan. 30 – Feb. 5
    This sweeping, poetry-inspired art installation by Piotry Szyhalski will “wrap” Nicollet Mall between 12th and 5th streets, along with short poems about winter by local writers displayed on electronic road construction signs.
  • Winter Sounds & Lights Show | Peavey Plaza | 5:20 p.m., 6:20 p.m., 7:20 p.m., and 8:20 p.m. on Monday, Jan. 30
    With four evening showings, this spectacular recorded sound and light show is 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.

“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,” Rybak said.

These events are just one of the many ways that The Minneapolis Foundation and its donors support the arts in Minnesota and beyond. In 2016 alone, the Foundation distributed more than $6 million to arts-related causes.