September 28, 2012
by Elisa Krovblit
Every year for one magical night the city turns into one big art gallery. This year it will be this Saturday, September 29. The actual galleries open their doors from dust to dawn, and so do numerous performance spaces, artist’s studios and private spaces. People share, enjoy and experience art in a public way, all in the name of Nuit Blanche.
Started in 2006, the first event brought out over 400,000 people to experience art in this very accessible and engaging way. Art wasn’t reserved for the Art School Snob who knew more than you. It was liberated to a wide audience, to those who were too timid to walk into the quiet gallery space with blank expectations, who were just too busy to stop and observe the roses. It was made to be fun. It was made to be inclusive. There were installations in the park that invited participation from passers-by. Impromptu spoken word by those who felt the urge to jump into the arena. Theatrical, modern, avant garde, classic, neuveau, expensive, unknown, electronic, oil, canvas, disappearing ink – it was all there. With corporate sponsorship and snowballing participation, the event has grown every year! In 2011 there were an estimated 1 million+ in attendance, with over 100,000 people coming from out of town.
My favourite installation was the big billboard on Queen West, atop the defunct mechanic shop at Fenning that read “Free lobotomies, enquire here” with a phone number that, when dialed, was an answering machine message about the mind and its miracles. No wait, my favourite was the hundreds of fire lanterns released at Trinity Bellwoods Park that floated away into the night sky. No, no… The best was the impormptu concert by a troop of roaming musicians who climbed the scaffolding of a condo being built at Ossington and Queen – bearing horns, tubas, and drums – and began playing stylized and lively Eastern European Folk to an enthralled crowd. No, wait – there was the performance in the Distillery, or the gallery show on Yonge – no, it was the massive crocheted and sewn quilt covering the civic building, the femme bomb…
Okay, so I’m having a tough time narrowing it down. Each year there are some great shows, showing and installations. The city is broken down into three zones and the website www.scotiabanknuitblanche.ca will help you plan out which area you’d prefer to roam – and where exactly to go.
The walls in our home have benefitted from the annual event. Sometimes we discover a new artist or a must-have piece, while other years it’s given us inspiration to create something amazing. I have discovered some incredible home-grown talent that I’d never have known and have pieces on our walls that not only add to our décor, but also serve as a reminder of those amazing nights in our city, where art comes alive and is shared by all.
Saturday September 29.
Dusk to dawn.
Bring your imagination.
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