Sunday 2 October 2011

Nuit Blanche: Art Meets City Hall

Saturday Night - Contemporary Art Replaces Cars in Downtown Toronto.
For one night Toronto is the city that doesn't sleep.

It was cold. It was dark. It was crowded. For one night only, the city of Toronto, became the city that doesn't sleep and it was all done in the name of art.
The fifth Annual Nuit Blanch ran from dusk on October 1st until dawn on Sunday October 2nd. There was too much to see for the city to go to sleep. In total, more than 130 projects – from smaller, more intimate experiences to large scale spectacle -- kept the interest of hundreds of thousands Canadians who came to the city core to experience magical moments with art and their City.
Scotiabank Nuit Blanche is Toronto's annual all-night celebration of contemporary art, produced by the City of Toronto in collaboration with Toronto's arts community. Since 2006, the event has featured more than 600 official art installations created by nearly 2,500 artists and has generated more than $70 million in economic impact for the city.
The official kick-off for Nuit Blanche was held on the top floor of the Sheraton Hotel across the street from City Hall. It was 90-minute party where the arts community got to share drinks with provincial and civic officials.
Councillor Michael Thompson (Ward 37, the western half of Scarborough Centre) handles the art portfolio for Toronto council and as a result spoke at length at the launch. He presented a plaque to the organizers of Nuit Blanche on behalf of Mayor Rob Ford (who was well noticed no-show). Instead of reading the inscription by himself, he invited those members on council in attendance to come on stage and help him. A record number of councillors - ten - were on stage to open the 7th annual event.
What time did I leave? Well my wife and I, just back from South America, found it punishingly cold. We left just after 9pm after watching and listening to a musician play a drum solo inside a deconstructed GM vehicle. My son Andrew was hardier, he threw in the towel at 3.30 am Sunday morning.
This year Nuit Blanche asked attendees to give input into the event -
To view their/our feedback you can visit:

Cutlines: Top: Scotiabank corporate art archivist meets councillor Michael Thompson.
Above – Dazed and Confused. Even though I work for art galleries and artists I don’t always “get it”. Never-the-less I stood for the camera in front of an art installation in the middle of Yonge Street at Queen. I am in front of a stack of plywood sheets that have been painted lime green.
Above: A record number of city councillors - ten in all - came up on stage at the formal kick-off to the Nuit=Blanche 2011. At last year's kick-off I counted five city councillors. Noticably absent was Mayor Rob Ford.