Toronto

Nuit Blanche Toronto opens Saturday night. Here's what you can see

Nuit Blanche Toronto is Saturday September 29.

Annual all-night art show happens on Saturday night-Sunday morning with more than 75 public installations

Artist Meghan Ross prepares one of the 13,000 fingerprints included in her sculptural installation Make Your Mark, at this year's Nuit Blanche Toronto. (Martin Trainor/CBC)

Glue, clear tape and 13,000 human hands.

Those are the materials used in Make Your Mark, a sculptural installation opening this Saturday at the Nuit Blanche Toronto art festival.

Don't worry, the human hands were just borrowed over the past year to make thousands of fingerprints.

This Saturday, the shimmering, transparent imprints will dangle from the the low ceiling of a underground tunnel in the Toronto Coach Terminal.

"We all have a fingerprint; we all can be part of something," the installation's creator, Meghan Ross, told CBC Toronto. "Thirteen thousand people are part of this."

This is the 13th edition of Nuit Blanche Toronto and features the work of more than 300 local, Canadian and international artists.

Make Your Mark, at the Toronto Coach Terminal, is one of more than 75 public art installations at this year's Nuit Blanche. (Martin Trainor/CBC)

Ross likes the idea of the project coming to life in a public space on Nuit Blanche, rather than a private gallery.

"Because the project is made by the people and for the people, it was a really cool idea to be in a public space," she said.

The location is a tunnel that connects the terminal with Toronto's underground PATH system.

"We looked through so many different spaces. I was really interested in a kind of transitory space," Ross said.

This is Ross's first Nuit Blanche installation, but the Toronto-born artist has volunteered at the all-night art festival before.

'Be prepared to walk'

Although she's more of a morning person, Ross likes to enjoy the entire night from start to finish.

'Try and sleep for most of the day before," she advised.

Nuit Blanche attendees often spend much of the night on their feet. "Be prepared to walk," Ross said.

Her tip: wear wool socks.

'We try to lower barriers as much as we can and really take the art to the people, Jeanne Holmes, programming supervisor with the city of Toronto, told CBC Toronto. (Martin Trainor/CBC)

Footwear is also a big deal for Nuit Blanche organizer Jeanne Holmes, a programming supervisor with the city of Toronto.

Extra shoes

She recommends bringing an extra pair of shoes to change into when your feet get sore.

"My trick is that I change my socks partway through the night. That wakes me right up," Holmes said.

There are more than 75 art projects at Nuit Blanche 2018, Holmes said. Many are grouped into neighbourhood clusters.

"The projects in the downtown core are very walkable. There are road closures so we make it easy for pedestrians to get around and you're not fighting traffic," she said.

Nuit Blanche lands in Scarborough

For the first time, Nuit Blanche will include installations in Scarborough.

"It's a really exciting change. We've been privileged to be invited by the community of artists that are out in Scarborough," Holmes said.

One of the major works at Scarborough's Nuit Blanche is Everything I Wanted to Tell You, which is part of the STYLL exhibition.

It takes messages from Scarborough residents about how they feel about their home and projects them onto the walls of the Scarborough Civic Centre.
Everything I Wanted to Tell You projects messages from Scarborough residents onto the walls of the Scarborough Civic Centre. (Nuit Blanche Toronto/Twitter)

Windsor text-based artist Hiba Abdallah says she was initially approached by Alyssa Fearon, the curator of Nuit Blanche Scarborough, to do a piece about the local area.

"What I made sure doing this project [was] to really listen and to really take in the kind of stories and narratives that I was receiving," Abdallah told CBC's Here and Now.

"There's a lot of connections to the resiliency but also the diversity and complexity of this community."

When to come

Large crowds are common at Nuit Blanche. Some installations may have long wait times to view.

To avoid them, Holmes recommends coming either early in the night — or early in the morning.

"My perfect time for Nuit Blanches is 4 a.m. to 7 a.m. It's beautiful. The city is really quiet. There aren't very many crowds and people can really see the art," she said.

About the Author

Trevor Dunn is an award-winning journalist with CBC Toronto. Since 2008 he's covered a variety of topics, ranging from local and national politics to technology on the South American countryside. Trevor is interested in uncovering news: real estate, crime, corruption, art, sports. Reach out to him. Se habla español. trevor.dunn@cbc.ca

With files from Here and Now

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