I started my nights journey in the West end of Toronto at Gallery 1313. From there I walked to the Gladstone and was delighted with the sounds of the band Lemon Bucket Orkestra, They gave way to The Drake, the Twist Art Gallery, and No Show Gallery, where artist Mike Harris exhibited limited edition prints from his series based on The Lord of the Rings.
Some displays called for active participation, asking people to paint or write, . . . to express, while others wanted you to buy. Most just wanted an audience. I finally got a street car that was calling my name, and it took me into the heart of the city.
With a very slow journey down Queen Street to Bay I arrived at Nathan Philips Square to view 'Forever Bicycles', a three-story tall installation by Chinese artist Ai Weiwei. It was well worth the journey, captivating the audience as they explored. From there my slow wanderings home offered many more delights, but I didn't even come close to seeing all of the art. Next year a plan and a map will have me starting with my first 'must see' and working my way back from there.
Nuit blanche isn't just about the art
it's also about the experience of being out on a warm October evening, surrounded by thousands who are there to enjoy the same things you are. From restaurants to balloon sellers, everyone got into the excitement, which seemed to build through the night. The streets were filled with people discussing what they saw, with a level of enthusiasm that is seldom expressed.
This is my second Nuit blanche this year. In August, while in Charlottetown, Leona Arsenault and I explored that cities event with the same expectation of delight. Although a much smaller event, it generated that same enthusiasm and initiated discussions as we went from exhibit to exhibit. People stopping us as our journey progressed to tell us about a display they didn't want us to miss. Art does this to people, opening up dialogues without judgements, allowing people to express what is in their heart.
If your city offers a similar event, then it's a not to be missed. Put on your best walking shoes, and get out there.