By Janice Bennink
Contemporary art enthusiasts are cheering the City of Toronto’s announcement that Nuit Blanche, the annual all-night public art event, will be coming to Scarborough in 2018 and 2019. This year, Nuit Blanche begins at dusk on Saturday, September 29 and runs until dawn.
In its 12-year history, Nuit Blanche exhibitions have been centred in the downtown core, with local, national and international artists creating public art projects for an audience of more than one million viewers. With this year’s expansion into Scarborough, expect that enthusiasm to spread into our local communities.
The hub of Scarborough’s Nuit Blanche will be Scarborough Civic Centre, in the same way that Nathan Phillips Square has been the centre of the Toronto event’s activities. Curated art projects and installations will likely be within walking distance from that point, and a shuttle bus from downtown Toronto is expected.
In response to the 2018 event theme “You Are Here,” Scarborough-raised curator Alyssa Fearon will select projects that aim to illuminate the creativity and artistic production that has always existed and continues to thrive here. Speaking on CBC Radio’s Toronto show Here and Now, Fearon expressed her excitement in engaging the local community. “I’m really optimistic and hopeful that people will just be curious enough that this is the first time and they will want to make it out to see what’s happening in Scarborough,” she said.
In addition to the city-produced exhibitions, Nuit Blanche invites artists to participate through the Open Call Project program, or the Independent Project program. These projects can be located in neighbouring locations, and community applications are now being accepted for both programs.
The Open Call Project program will give up to four artists the opportunity to be part of one city-produced exhibition. Up to four submissions will be offered funding and production support. The submission deadline is Monday, January 22.
Independent Projects feature self-funded installations presented by galleries, schools, neighbourhoods, community organizations and individual artists. The submission deadline is Monday, February 5.
The city will hold the following information sessions for community participation in the Independent Project and Open Call Project programs:
January 9, 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. at Scarborough Civic Centre, Committee Room 2, 150 Borough Dr.
January 10, 1 to 3 p.m. at Scarborough Civic Centre, Committee Room 2, 150 Borough Dr.
January 12, 6 to 8 p.m. at Toronto City Hall, Committee Room 2, 100 Queen St. W.
More information and application forms for both programs are now available at www.toronto.ca/nbto.