Toronto Nuit Blanche a great free, all night contemporary art thing

Submitted by Norm Roulet on Sun, 10/01/2006 - 16:43.

Talk about great timing. Evelyn, Claus and I arrived in Toronto around 7:30 PM Saturday, September 30, 2006, to a light, cool rain, and as I was driving down Queen Street to pick up some dinner at my favorite restaurant here - Albert's Real Jamaican Foods - I noticed an unusual scene surrounded me. There were video projectors beaming images on the Gladstone and Drake hotels, and others glowing from parking lots, galleries and car washes... and 1,000s of people swarming around... more than the usual active Saturday night... especially a drizzly one. While I was waiting for my take-out at Albert's, I picked up a Now magazine (their Scene/Free Times) and realized I was in the heart of Toronto's first Nuit Blanche - "White Night"... "a night without darkness; a night for new discoveries; a sleepless night"... "a free, all night contemporary art thing." Unbelievable... what a great thing!

When I looked through Now I immediately knew this would be a long night. I don't know many artists in Canada and none were involved in this all nighter, but it was very clear this was an opportunity to experience something special - a trip to "The Factory". The night was focused in three zones covering dozens of square mile, and I was interested to see "art things" in all three zones.

With this first annual event, Toronto joins an exclusive community of sleepless international arts cities: Paris (which created the concept in 2002), Riga, Rome, Madrid, Brussels and Montreal. There should be an American Nuit Blanche... it could be a sure thing to insure 100,00s and the economy a good time in Cleveland... it's like Ingenuity Fest, crammed into 12 hours, x10.

Rather than me running down the 150+ venues and 1,000s of artists who made this Nuit absolutely amazing, check out the Nuit Blanche website and I'll share some highlights. First, keep in mind the Nuit was centered in three zones around downtown Toronto - an area centered around Queen Street, another around University of Toronto, and the other around Art Gallery of Ontario and Ontario School of art and Design - each spreading out dozens of blocks, and including scores of venues, each providing multiple innovative, free arts... 1,000s of potential arts experiences. experiences.


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truly great idea -- the all nighter

    I have wished for a late night scene here in Cleveland for those of us who like to stay up late.

    Especially for kids (teens) it is difficult to "be somewhere" that is not "the deserted street" late at night. I am discouraged that you can't eat late or dance late or play late or see art late in Cleveland. So often we end up closing the restaurant, being the last dinner served and walk from the restaurant onto a deserted street in a dark neighborhood.

    I like, too, that the places for discussion and rest are in between the galleries. This is so important and something lacking in many of the gallery neighborhoods in Cleveland. Part of why the Murray Hill art walk is successful is you can view art and then eat -- big or small and sit and discuss the art you have seen. We need more places for dialogue near the art so that the "zones" can be gathering places where understandings are achieved or at least queries are broached.

    Maybe MOCA and CIA will be green buildings and will pull an occasional all nighter when they have their new installations at UCI. Maybe....