Meet the Northern Spark artist: Anthony Chapin and Erin Lavelle, Nighttime Post

(Editor's note: This Saturday night and Sunday morning is Northern Spark, an epic, city-wide party where hundreds of artists, performing groups, and creative organizations set up pop-up galleries, present theater pieces, and host other unexpected happenings throughout the city of Minneapolis. Before the big evening, we'll be taking a look at some of the people and places you may want to check out.)

Your names, and your project name: Anthony Chapin and Erin Lavelle, Nighttime Post

Tell us about what you are doing at Northern Spark, and what visitors can expect:

Nighttime Post will be hand-delivering messages from citizen to random citizen. We will have three outposts set up where you can dictate messages to our Postmasters, and we have a fleet of couriers who will be going on a scavenger hunt of sorts to find the intended recipients. It's an interactive performance installation across the festival that celebrates connection. Look for our glowing tents and send a message!

Where we can find you this Saturday?

Nighttime Post will have three outposts: one on the Greenway across from Freewheel, one at the Convention Center Plaza, and one on the river, near the Stone Arch Bridge. You can find our couriers cycling between them.

Is this your first time participating in Northern Spark?

Chapin: Yes, this is my first year participating, and actually my first year attending.

Lavelle: I helped produce the Power of the People Community Breakfast at Intermedia Arts in 2011, and I was in the Kazoo Band last year. I'm excited to be doing my own work with Tony this year!

Please tell us a little bit about what you do creatively and why:

Erin Lavelle: Tony and I create participatory art projects that directly engage the audience. Last winter, we built a found-object sculpture together, and then invited guests to a Valentine's Day funeral event. We had the sculpture on display, and then led a rollicking procession to the woods where we released it to the flames in a big bonfire ceremony.

Anthony Chapin: This project started by Erin is challenging me to create something and destroy it.

Lavelle: Because he keeps every scrap of drawing he makes!

Chapin: Yes, so doing this project helped me, and we then extended the opportunity to others. Everyone made kindling packets where they wrote down their own burdens or stresses or blocks, which started the fire. It let us all detach together.

Name three things that inspired and/or motivated you as a budding creative type:

Chapin: First, a love of art was instilled by my family from my father and mother, who are artists and creative types in their own right, and my aunt who was a patron of the arts. She brought me to shows and museums as a kid.

Second, my visual aesthetic comes from the whimsical worlds created by people like Dr. Seuss and Tim Burton.

Third, witnessing shows from companies like Barebones and Jeune Lune, works that have a very strong visual content and really engaging atmosphere, inspire me.

Lavelle: First, my mother and grandmothers, who were all artists, inspired me. They introduced me to art at a very young age and encouraged me to perform, paint, sew, and create. I am lucky to have a mother who is not afraid of me being an artist.

Second, exploring the natural world and then creating environments (installations) that support, enhance, or contrast it.

Finally, partner dance and the immediate connection you gain with a stranger, even for a moment, and then trying to translate that experience to other art forms with non-dancers inspired me.

In addition to Northern Spark, what do you have going on now or coming up in the near future that should be on our radar?

Lavelle: I am working on an application to grad school, which will definitely lead to more work! I hope to be pursuing an MFA in interdisciplinary arts this fall.

Chapin: I'll be doing the Barebones Halloween Show again this year.

Lavelle: Also, we hope this is just the beginning for Nighttime Post. We are working on securing future opportunities to present it.


Northern Spark


9:01 p.m. to 5:25 a.m. Saturday, June 14

Various locations

For more info, and a complete schedule of happenings, visit