It is the ninth year that Nuit Blanche Winnipeg has graced our city streets with its free all-night exploration and celebration of contemporary art.
This festival originated in France in 1984 and quickly caught on around the world. The idea is that the city essentially becomes a giant art gallery and interactive playground for the night – with events, celebrations, and artworks being concentrated right here in the Exchange District, and spreading outward to St. Boniface, the Forks, Downtown, and for the first year ever the West End!
Each year the festival continues to grow and according to Nuit Blanche Winnipeg’s Communications and Event Coordinator, Joy Balmana, this year will be no exception.
“There’s a lot happening. We have a brand new hub this year in the West End which is really cool. Within the Exchange District we are shutting down Albert, Arthur, Bannatyne, and King to make it more pedestrian friendly,” says Balmana. “Nuit Blanche started very grassroots. Galleries staying open a little bit later. Artists wanting to activate spaces that weren’t commonly used such as alleyways. That’s still a part of Nuit Blanche today. Finding art in very unusual places. We always want to keep that very grass roots feeling but in the past few years with the Winnipeg arts council on board we are able to bring in bigger works each year.”
Some of the highlights of this year’s festival are it’s feature pieces – Control No Control and Impulse. The cloud exhibit from Nuit Blanche 2016 stands out in many people’s minds and Balmana says that the feature pieces this year will create some very “cloudesque” moments.
Control No Control
Control No Control is an interactive LED sculpture that invites the audience to use their hands and body to act on its audiovisual patterns.
Impulse is publicly activated light and sound experience made up of a series of interactive illuminated seesaws. When put into motion by people the seesaws form units of light and sound to create an ever-changing composition powered by play.
Both of these pieces can be found here in the heart of the Exchange with Impulse in Old Market Square and Control No Control in Bijou Park (immediately adjacent to Old Market Square). And this year we are very excited about how many of our local businesses will be participating in the festivities! With a dance battle in the parking lot of Canadian Footwear, Pre-blanche happy hour, with cheap drinks, at Clementine, a culinary competition at Forth, button making at Tiny Feast, Friday Knights pop up graffiti truck store, an illuminated mushroom at Little Brown Jug, and even the brand new Non Such Brewery opening for the night!
Looking for the best way to navigate the festivities? Why not take the Trolley! This year the Winnipeg Trolley Company has two Trollies making the route with two stops in the Exchange District, and one in each of the surrounding areas. So, it will be even quicker to grab a Trolley ride this year. And don’t be surprised to find a brass band entertaining you on your travels!
Biking is also a fantastic way to move quickly and easily from exhibit to exhibit. You can even try our new bike lanes – painted by local artists! But even on foot everything is no more than a 15 minute walk from Old Market Square. So put on some comfy shoes and take it all in.
Balmana says to keep your head up and look around because there will be a lot to see this year. Expect to be surprised at this year’s Nuit Blanche!