Plume Project Coloring Contest Call for Art Submissions

¬For immediate release

Nina Axelson
District Energy St. Paul
Direct: 612-695-1288

Plume Project Coloring Contest Call for Art Submissions

SAINT PAUL, Minn. (January 21, 2016)- The final installation in the Plume Project series, Coloring Contest, will launch January 28 and run through February 7, nightly from 5:30-9:00 p.m.. The Plume Project is a series of three temporary art works that will transform the signature District Energy St. Paul steam plume into a canvas for projected light displays. This installation was intentionally planned to run during the Saint Paul Winter Carnival to optimize community and family engagement. This third project in the series celebrates the theme “positive energy” and includes an open call for artwork from all ages. Artwork can be submitted online and can take many forms, including drawings, photography, or video. The artwork will be curated and projected onto the District Energy St. Paul plume located at 76 Kellogg Boulevard West, next to the Science Museum in downtown Saint Paul. The deadline for submissions is January 25. Submit online at

Coloring Contest, led by Twin Cities artist Asia Ward, is the final installation in a series by the Plume Project collaborative team. The Plume Project has lit up the Saint Paul skyline over the past three months, using the District Energy St. Paul steam plume as a canvas for projected light displays. This bold idea was originated through a partnership with Public Art Saint Paul and the City Art Collaboratory, in an effort to bring together artists and scientists to explore the intersection of their work. The projects have explored the connection between individuals and energy and environment, using light, color, animation, solar data, and poetry as key programming elements. The final project will explore the theme of positive energy through diverse media and art submission from the general public.

Coloring Contest is a platform for the community to express what positive energy means to them,” Ward states. In addition to being the lead artist on this project, Ward is co-owner of Recharge Labs, a renewable energy education company. Ward shares, “Positive energy means something very specific to me, as an artist and educator in the energy field. I support learning more about our energy sources in order to understand the systems that affect our lives and the world around us. I believe that positive energy is energy that is renewable and is respectful of the environment and human health. Coloring Contest was inspired by the newspaper contests I submitted to when I was a kid. I remember having my drawing accepted, and how exciting it was to see it printed with my name in the newspaper! I want to give kids and adults that opportunity to show off what makes them happy.”

Solar System, the second installation led by artist Aaron Dysart, just finished its impressive run from December 22 through January 12. Solar System used real-time data from NASA’s Solar Dynamic Observatory satellite to connect the themes of energy, origin, and location by using the sun to dictate an ever-changing light show in the steam plume.

The first project, Rumblings, led by artist Emily Stover, ran from November 17 through December 8 and captured the attention of thousands of people admiring the dynamic display in the Saint Paul skyline, in addition to the very personal experience provided by those calling a number to trigger a light show synced to the cadence of the poetry. All poems were created by local artists for this project.

The Plume Project is made possible through many partners, including Kyle Waites, Max Haugland, Seth Alt, and Michael Murnane, and the operations staff at District Energy St. Paul, who provided technical expertise and resources for the project. The Plume Project is funded through a grant from the Knight Foundation’s Knight Arts Challenge and matching funds from District Energy St. Paul, Blue Cross Blue Shield, Saint Paul Riverfront Corporation, and Saint Paul College, along with contributions through an Indiegogo crowdsourcing campaign. Coloring Contest is sponsored by Ever-Green Energy, an avid supporter of energy education and community engagement.

District Energy St. Paul leaders hope this project will continue to inspire collaboration between artists and scientists. They say participation in this project has helped District Energy bolster its education and outreach program and motivate the energy industry to think differently about engagement.

“The Plume Project has allowed our partnership to extend energy education and community engagement into a previously unexplored direction,” says Nina Axelson, Vice President of Public Affairs for District Energy St. Paul. “The collaboration with these amazing artists has helped us reach new audiences and draw people into important conversations about the role of energy in our communities. We are beyond grateful for the opportunity to be a part of this groundbreaking project.”

More information about the projects can be found at, Vimeo, or

About the Plume Project Artists

For many years the artists of the Plume Project have been living and working in downtown Saint Paul, routinely wonder-struck at the majestic cloud coming from the District Energy St. Paul facility. Upon taking a tour, they were further intrigued when they learned that the plant generates local energy primarily from renewable and efficient energy sources, and that it is recognized as a world-class facility. Inspired by this overlooked, yet essential part of Saint Paul’s energy infrastructure, the Plume Project artists developed the idea to use light and projection to animate the steam plume, creating an artful spectacle that will spread their plume-love to the hearts of many. Learn more at

About District Energy St. Paul

District Energy St. Paul is a unique utility that generates heating, cooling, and electricity for the community. Pipes run from the plant on Kellogg Boulevard to hundreds of buildings in downtown Saint Paul, providing heating and cooling. A portion of the heat provided comes from steam that is leftover from electricity production, which utilizes local waste wood as its main fuel. This process is called combined heat and power, which is twice as efficient as standard energy production and connects District Energy customers with heat from renewable energy. The water vapor that is left over after creating electricity and heat is vented through the cooling towers, which serves as the canvas for the Plume Project. District Energy St. Paul is also a founding partner of the Saint Paul EcoDistrict, which is a platform for sustainability education experiences. More about District Energy St. Paul and its work with the Plume Project is available at