This past Saturday, the heart of Ottawa had it’s first all-nighter. An all-nighter of arts and culture that is. It was the city’s first-ever Nuit Blanche event (A French expression meaning to stay up all night) and based on the amount of smiling people in the streets and over-heard positive comments, a truly successful white night it was.
Arriving at the corner of Rideau and Sussex around 9:00 pm, we immediately witnessed artist Genevieve Thauvette’s interpretation of a singing Marie-Antoinette sitting atop a big white wedding cake and accompanied by two violinists and a burlesque-looking demoiselle handing-out cupcakes and confetti. It was quite the scene, but passerbys and art-junkies alike were clearly amused by the whole performance.
Venturing into the ByWard Market courtyards around 10:00 pm, we came across a herd of giant clay elephants by Christopher Griffin surrounded by a bunch of adults confectionning their own mini-elephants that they would then place on the bigger elephants’ backs. It was quite a sight to say the least!
Just around the corner, there was a participative dancefloor inviting the public to jump in, dance around, and stay still for 15 seconds once the music stopped. I saw many happy faces partaking in this unusual interpretive dance party despite not really knowing what they were in for.
Strolling from one art installation to the other and from one gallery exhibition to the next, I couldn’t help but feel overcome by joy thanks to this abundance of art. And wasn’t this the goal of Nuit Blanche 2012? To remind us that life is beautiful despite its imperfections?
Having said this, there were some small problems like there weren’t enough volunteers and some were unable to answer certain questions. The map developed for the event was rather useful yet somewhat confusing and difficult to maneuver in the dark night. Another down side to the event was the mix of art-seekers with party-goers, a strange fit especially around 1 and 2:00 am when the boozed-up crowd mixed in with art enthusiasts.
The first edition of Nuit Blanche proves that Ottawa is open-minded and embracing of the arts and culture and that although there were minor issues, to be expected for a first of its kind in the National Capital, the event has lots of room to grow and to put on a bigger and better Nuit Blanche 2013.
Congratulations to the organizers, the artists, the volunteers and to those who came out for believing in Ottawa’s arts and culture enough to make Nuit Blanche a resounding success and a much-needed addition to Ottawa’s growing list of exciting must-attend events!