Montreal

Indulge your creative side at NDG Arts Week

NDG Arts Week gets into full swing with a wide array of free activities. Here's a look at how the festival came to be, and what's on this weekend.

Annual event runs through the weekend with a range of free, family-friendly activities

On Friday evening, hundreds will gather in Montreal's NDG Park to enjoy videos and short films with a connection to the neighbourhood. (Tristan Brand/Off the Wall)

A decade ago, a group of NDG artists joined forces to put art in the streets and parks of Montreal's west end.

That vision has blossomed from a smattering of weekend activities into a week-long festival that includes dancing, painting, drawing, puppeteering, parading and plenty of music. 

NDG Arts Week, put together wih help of local artists, musicians and organizations, kicked off Monday. The party continues through Sunday evening.

From early on, co-founder Paul Cargnello said he hoped the festival would be around for at least a decade.

"If we were able to reach 10 years, we would be able to reach an entire generation of children who grew up in a community where being an artist was viable and there were free, quality events," hesaid.

Cargnello, a singer-songwriter, now see the impact the event has on people's lives and "I'm just really happy to have been apart of it," he said.

Off the Wall in NDG Park

On Friday evening, hundreds of people will gather in NDG Park for Off The Wall. This year, 19 short-form videos will be projected onto a giant, inflatable screen.

Each video is, in some way, connected to the neighbourhood.

"It's quite a creative community," John McKay said. "This is a nice way for the community to see and hear its creativity, and appreciate it. A big crowd comes out every year and that tells that the neighbourhood likes it."

McKay helped found the festival because, at the time, he was frustrated by the lack of creative space in NDG.

"I realized, instead of walking around irritated, I should do it myself," he said.

Weekend full of fun

The events are free and open to anybody. The weekend's schedule can be found on the festival's website, but here's a basic rundown of what to expect: 

  • On Saturday, BoulevArt starts at noon. Local artist set up on Sherbooke Street, corner of Wilson Avenue, showcasing their work and offering plenty of family-friendly activities.
  • The Puppet Parade starts at 2 p.m., the Biergarten will be in NDG Park starting at 4 p.m. and then, in the same park, musical performances begin at 6 p.m.
  • Plenty of well-known artists will be performing during Samedi in the Park until 10 p.m. Performers include Jah Cutta, Strange Froots, DJ Asma and Paul Cargnello.
  • On Sunday, an intercultural festival is planned for Benny Park starting at 12 p.m. and then Sunset on Somerled — a block party — will close out NDG Arts Week with even more musical performances, street art and more.

About the Author

Isaac Olson has been a Montreal-area journalist for more than a decade.

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