Nuit Blanche Winnipeg – Saturday, September 28 in the city’s core area – is a “free, all-night exploration and celebration of contemporary art.”
The concept behind Nuit Blanche started in France in 1984 as a way to showcase art with museums, galleries and bookshops keeping their doors open all night.
The annual event debuted in Winnipeg in September, 2010 and has events focused in three parts of the city: the Exchange District, Downtown and St. Boniface.
Monica Lowe, co-chair of Nuit Blanche Winnipeg, says that the most important part of the event is being able to present visual art to the masses.
“The arts community is a fairly small circle in Winnipeg and even though there are openings pretty much every week year-round, the larger public may not be getting out to see this fabulous artwork that is being created in our city, province and country,” she says.
One Nuit Blanche event that Lowe is particularly excited about is the Emerging Voices contest, which showcases student artists’ work in Winnipeg. One of this year’s finalists is JNZNBRK’s installation Propagate at RAW Gallery, which according to the Nuit Blanche website “explores light, surface and spacial experience through the convergence of the digital and the analog.”
Cara Mason – a graduate of the University of Manitoba’s Fine Arts program – is another Emerging Voices finalist. The Nuit Blanche website says her exhibition DBT in BPD, at the Exchange Community Church, uses “oil paint, video, and Plexiglas to create figurative realism.” She also uses “elements of geometry to contrast the organic curves of the body.” The idea behind DBT in BPD is to create a “visual representation of mental illness.”
A Nuit Blanche staple in Winnipeg, the Rainbow Trout Festival Bike Jam – a gallery hopping bike crawl – will be collaborating with Synonym Art Consultation to make this year’s event the biggest yet. It’s dubbed U&US.
Will Belford, one of the organizers of the Bike Jam, recalls its conception in 2011.
“We took a portable stereo, rode all night and just had the best time. We went everywhere and just had the best time,” Belford says.
“The amount of people was immensely monumental and the fun was out of control... We’re going to hit up as many downtown galleries as we can in the time we have. We want to try and bring our ilk and the art scene together.”
Andrew Nelson and Chloe Chafe of Synonym Art Consultation teamed up with the Bike Jam to create the U+US party.
“[U+US is] the ultimate union of art, partying and participation,” Nelson says.
Nelson says that the party will begin at 6 pm at Graffiti Gallery, where participants will be able to create art using their bike as a paint brush.
“The opportunity to muster all your creative powers and come decorate your bike, your clothes, yourself and collaborative, live art pieces,” he says.
The Bike Jam will culminate at Union Sound Hall with performances by DJs Scott Shanks and Mike B, the Nova Collective Dancers, contortionist Sam Halas and Winnipeg band Hana Lu Lu.
Of course, these are just a few of the events happening during Nuit Blanche. For the full schedule, visit nuitblanchewinnipeg.ca.