AMARACHI AMADIKE, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter
East-end residents will have the opportunity to experience the many art installations of Nuit Blanche, Toronto’s annual art festival, for the second year in a row.
On Saturday, Oct. 1, starting at 7 p.m. and continuing through until 7 a.m. on the morning of Sunday, Oct. 3,, Toronto will wear a new look through contemporary art. There will be free art exhibits in Scarborough, Downtown, Fort York, West Queen West, North York, Danforth East and more.
Started in 2006 and the largest contemporary art festival in North America, Nuit Blanche only recently expanded the celebrations into Wards 14 (Toronto-Danforth) and Ward 19 (Beaches-East York) thanks to the work East End Arts.
“It’s fantastic that Nuit Blanche is becoming a city-wide event,” said Shana Hillman, East End Arts Executive Director. “It was always focused on downtown.”
Nuit Blanche East Danforth is completely self-funded by East End Arts and the Danforth Mosaic BIA. The theme for the installations along the Danforth is The Space Beneath Us.
Hillman said that since COVID-19, there has been an increased importance in Nuit Blanche reaching neighbourhoods outside the city’s core rather than just downtown where most of the resources are exhausted.
East End Arts’ Nuit Blanche hub travels along Danforth Avenue from the exit of the Greenwood Subway Station heading east to Woodbine Avenue.
Hillman expressed excitement for the In View installations which has paired 20 artists with 20 local businesses and property owners who have agreed to transform their windows into galleries.
One of these can be found at the constituency office of Beaches-East York MPP Mary-Margaret McMahon.
McMahon has invited Natalie Very B., an award-winning Polish-Canadian illustrator and muralist, to display her piece titled Our Unconscious on the office windows at 1821 Danforth Ave.
As well as In View, four major art installations will be displayed on Danforth Avenue during Nuit Blanche this weekend.
MAJOR ART INSTALLATIONS
- Secret Art Collective featuring Blondy & Peanut will present East Danforth Wildlife at East Lynn Park (1949 Danforth Ave.). According to the artist statement, the installation “responds with whimsy to fears of humankind’s precarious place within the natural world by installing a series of brightly coloured and dynamically lit life size plastic coyotes along the shores of what was once ‘Small’s Creek’ but what is now East Lynn Park”.
- For those who would like to dance the night away, Diana Reyes a.k.a Fly Lady Di will be turning a gymnasium at BOMB Fitness (1502 Danforth Ave.) into a “silent disco of mycelial meditations”. The dancer, choreographer, DJ, writer, actor, performer and producer is known for her vibrant brand of dance and DJing. She invites attendees to an all-night mycelial themed dance party that celebrates relaxation, healing, and togetherness. “Come heal your minds, bodies, and souls together through movement and music!” said the artist in a statement to East End Arts.
- Ana Gabriela Lopez Castro’s Piñatas Bring Us Together gives guests a dose of Mexico right on the walkway outside Coxwell Subway Station. “In Mexico, piñatas are street gatherings where neighbours listen to music, share stories, drink hot fruit punch, and break at least one piñata while singing Dale, dale, dale! which means give it, give it, give it,” said her statement for East End Arts. This installation is an ode to her childhood, a time when she felt excitement at the thought of the holiday season when ceilings of the Mexican market aisles were filled with colourful piñatas. She reminds visitors, through her display, of the importance of togetherness. Piñatas Bring Us Together encourages reconnection with family members and the community while opening the door to new friendships.
- Girls & Enby Mural Camp Exhibition located at The Danny BIA offices (1432 Danforth Ave.) is a “literal take on the night’s theme”. The mural takes us into the city’s sewers – The Space Beneath Us – examines that world that is below us, painting a picture of the “complicated tangle of lives” that are “ just as rich and fulfilling as our own”. The artists, Mackenzie C., Ivy O., Maiko R., Oli D., Ethne M., Kyla T., Nomsa P., Poppy G., Lea E.K., and Imogen M., are all part of Girls & Enby Mural Camp (GEMC). The camp is a youth summer arts program for young women, girls and people identifying as non-binary from ages 14 to 18.
During the night, Nuit Blanche visitors can stop by East End Art’s Info and Refresh Station located at the parkette at Coxwell and Danforth avenues. Located here will be washrooms (including one accessible washroom), information on other hubs around the city, a #EastEndLove merchandise sale and staff available for further inquiries.
There will be a number of restaurants available for sit-down dining and refreshments. For late night snack and hang out locations, as well as a hub map for with all the information and locations of artists and installations for Saturday’s night of festivities, please visit the East End Arts website at https://eastendarts.ca/nuit-blanche-east-danforth-2022/
Amarachi Amadike is a Local Journalism Initiative Reporter for Beach Metro Community News. His reporting is funded by the Government of Canada through its Local Journalism Initiative.