Nuit Blanche: Toronto’s All-Night Art Party
For one sleepless night, Canada’s largest city is transformed into a living art gallery, “with a mandate to make contemporary art accessible to large audiences, while inspiring dialogue and engaging the public to examine its significance and impact on public space.”
But this isn’t about high-art snobbery. Nuit Blanche is an energetic nocturnal party when art galleries and museums open to the public, and off-the-beaten-path and mundane spaces become works of contemporary art.
The Downtown Toronto Art Scene
This is the fifth year of Toronto’s annual sunset-to-sunrise celebration of contemporary art, with projects on display in art galleries, museums and public places all over the city. This year it will take place on Saturday, October 2, from sundown at 6:57pm until sunrise the following day. It’s a last, magical attempt to hold the imminent, bleak northern winter at bay as the whole city comes out to celebrate a night of the arts.
This year, there will be three main zones centralized along the Yonge-University subway line so festival-goers can easily get from one zone to another. Zone A will include Downtown North, Zone B will be the eastern-central part of downtown, and Zone C will cover downtown’s southwest corner. The main thoroughfare of Yonge Street will be closed to traffic to prevent fighting the crowd to get where you want to go. There are also exciting newcomer artists like Sonic Youth’s Lee Ranaldo, who is collaborating on an interactive video with his wife. Each of the three zones will feature a mix of Exhibition Projects and Independent projects. Browse all the projects or find the artists by name.
The four outdoor Exhibition Projects, each overseen by a curator, will feature 40 temporary public art projects that are a mix of intimate encounter art and large-scale interactive spectacle, all by local, national and international artists. Each exhibition will include projects selected by curators through an open call process that encouraged submissions by established and emerging Toronto artists.
Plan Your Night
There’s a lot going on, so the Nuit Blanche site has a few built-in widgets that will allow visitors to make the most of the night, including an itinerary planner with all the projects listed and mapped out for the most efficient routes. Visitors can create a list of ones they would like to see, build a personalized map of their favorites, print their itinerary to take with them, access their itinerary through a mobile device, share it with friends, and post it on Facebook and Twitter. Speaking of Twitter, Nuit Blanche has its own at @sbnuitblancheTO where visitors can find out about all the latest news and goings on, as well as get a play by play of the events that night.
The Art of Travel
Visitors hoping to make it to the city for the event can take advantage of several Travel Packages to make an entire trip out of it. Scotiabank has partnered with Marriott Hotels as the official hotel chain of the event, but guests can also find special rates and packages at other hotels as well, plus ideas for what else to do in the city and how to get around.
Those planning on making Nuit Blanche part of a longer itinerary can check out the city’s Festivals and Events Calendar, or take a look at Tourism Toronto to learn more about the other things to see, do and experience in and around the city.
If you can’t make it to the actual event this year, you can still get an overall feel for it as well as an overview of the past years’ festivals by visiting the four Some Enchanted Evenings presentations, Scotiabank Nuit Blanche’s 5th-year Retrospective Exhibition, which will run at Scott Plaza from September 20-October 3. There will also be a series of five lectures, or Nuit Talks, exploring the boundaries of contemporary art, and talking with panels of artists and curators, running September 28-October 3 in various locations around the city.
Whether you’ve never been to Toronto or know it like your own home, Nuit Blanche is the perfect chance to see the city from a different perspective and experience a truly memorable night in one of North America’s great destinations.
Images: Toronto Tourism