Take a nap, Toronto. You’ll need your rest because you are going to be up all night! The 12th annual Nuit Blanche art festival is back on September 30th from sunset to sunrise. If you’re unfamiliar with Nuit Blanche, it’s a free, city-wide celebration of contemporary art. It is produced by the City of Toronto in collaboration with the city’s arts community. Put your regular routine aside and stay up to see what you can see as the city transforms overnight and becomes a series of art experiences and adventures. We spoke with Jeanne Holmes (Programming Supervisor for City Cultural Events/Arts & Culture Services/Economic Development & Culture) to get a clearer picture of what unexpected experiences we can expect at this year’s event.
So Jeanne, how will this year’s event differ from past years?
2017 will be the 12th annual Nuit Blanche Toronto and like many of the programming activities that have been presented by the City of Toronto throughout the year, the event will mark Canada’s 150th anniversary of confederation. For the first time in our 12-year history Nuit Blanche will have an overarching curatorial theme: “Many Possible Futures” which invites participants to reflect on this major milestone in Canada’s collective history. Curators, artists, and cultural producers have been encouraged to look forward to the many possible futures of Canada in the development of their projects, bringing challenge, reflection, resilience and change to the forefront of the works created for this year’s event. The contributors to the 2017 edition of Nuit Blanche are placing both our differences and our solidarities at the very heart of their artistic discourse.
The curatorial focus of each of the four exhibitions this year reflect on timely and relevant ideas: protest and social change; revolution and resistance; difference and the unseen; and cultural endurance and visibility.
Wow! “Many Possible Futures” certainly seems full of potential! How many artists are you expecting to participate this year?
Nuit Blanche 2017 features 90 projects which have been created by more than 350 local, national and international artists. We are excited about the incredible range of artistic practice represented featuring projects from a range of disciplines and mediums including large-scale sculpture and installation, video, film, sound, new media, social interventions and performance art to name just a few.
Sounds like an incredible night of spectacles and experiences! Why do you think it’s important to make art more accessible?
Nuit Blanche has a long history of presenting artworks with challenging themes, bringing important ideas expressed in beautiful and moving ways to the public at large. We have provided a platform for artists, partners and collaborators to address some of the most pressing issues currently facing our society through contemporary art, demonstrating the diversity and complexities of the world today.
Lowering barriers to art is an essential part of these activities. Our efforts to bring work – created by some of the world’s most sought after artists – to the streets and sidewalks and parks of Toronto means we are taking projects directly to audiences rather than waiting for them to come to us. The democratic nature of the event allows audiences to engage with the work as they choose, to immerse themselves in the experience, inviting them to see their city in a whole new way. Additionally, many of our institutional partners like the AGO, the ROM, the Aga Khan Museum and others, open their doors free to the public during the all-night event. Bringing patrons through their doors, many for the first time.
We strive to bring new perspectives to the projects — both inside of galleries and museum and outside in the streets of the city — by working with hundreds of volunteers, who in addition to helping to manage projects also act as art guides for the public, offering insight and building understanding with folks who might be experiencing contemporary visual art for the first time.
Sounds like an incredibly accessible yet out of the ordinary experience! We can’t wait for it, thanks for speaking with us, Jeanne.
Let the everyday slip away and engage with your city as you’ve never seen it before with the 12th annual Nuit Blanche.