For art-loving insomniacs, Northern Spark was a dream come true.

The all-night festival featured free public art projects throughout the Twin Cities. Based on nuit blanche ("white night" in French), which has been taking place around the world since 1997, the Minnesota version included photos projected onto the Gold Medal Flour silos and a car-horn fanfare in St. Paul.

The event was the brainchild of Steve Dietz, who wanted to create a "nightlife beyond bar-hopping." The enthusiastic crowds at installations from the top of the Foshay to the Landmark Center gave every indication the event was a success.

"There's a huge cadre of artists who are willing to make art, and there's an audience willing to meet them halfway," said Dietz.

At the Stone Arch Bridge, Prof. Michele Goodwin was searching for the glow-in-the-dark plankton created by a U colleague. "You see a lot of art-as-life taking place," she said.

That was also the case at the Walker Art Center, where drawing activities and a sleep experiment kept visitors such as Pradeepan Jeeva up until the wee hours. "While some people were pillow talking, people here were art walking," he said.

Somnambulist aesthetes, welcome.

Sara Glassman • 612-673-7177