Some Enchanted Evenings
A Scotiabank Nuit Blanche 5th Year Retrospective Exhibition
September 20 to October 3, 2010
Scotia Plaza, 40 King Street West, East Lobby, Toronto, Canada [map]
Four enchanted evenings, each so different, so appealing.
Selected artworks by artists from Canada and around the world – video art, site-specific installations, sculpture, painting, multi-media performative work – that galvanized the Scotiabank Nuit Blanche audience over the last four years are represented in an archival/documentary exhibition.
Sited at Scotia Plaza, these works are highlighted by still and video photography, stories and tales, props and costumes, original drawings and maquettes. The exhibition also investigates some of the creative processes, from artists’ initial submissions to the Scotiabank Nuit Blanche curatorial team and onwards through the various stages an artwork undergoes between conception and realization.
The retrospective unfolds in 2006 when Scotiabank and hundreds of thousands of Torontonians embraced the City’s initial dream: when from dusk until dawn, darkness fades from the skies and the city is infused with the illumination of some of the world’s finest visual artists at work. Through Herculean efforts Scotiabank Nuit Blanche has now become one of the most anticipated events in Toronto’s annual cultural calendar.
From dusk until the early pre-dawn hours on September 30, 2006, Toronto buzzed with excitement as Scotiabank Nuit Blanche was first unleashed on an unsuspecting city. Torontonians left behind the comfort of their beds en masse, as 425,000 people ventured out onto the city’s streets for an all-night exploration and celebration of contemporary art.
As remarkable and distinctive as the art was, the magic came from the audience response and interaction. Most importantly, through this event a new audience was introduced to contemporary art by making it fun, engaging and accessible.
This event brought together a wide range of sectors and the exceptional talents of more than 400 artists and curators, 300 onsite logistical staff, 200 docents and volunteers, 87 galleries, museums and art institutions, and 13 corporate sponsors and media partners.
Within hours of the sun rising on October 1, hundreds of enthusiastic e-mails, letters and phone calls poured in from artists, participants, volunteers, councillors and event attendees. The inaugural edition of this event received widespread acclaim and accolades.
Scotiabank Nuit Blanche 2007 took place on September 29 and featured a 45% increase in projects, a 55% increase in community participation and close to double the audience attendance, securing its place as one of Canada’s major cultural events. Streets overflowing with 800,000 revellers experiencing contemporary art from dusk-to-dawn offered a strong indication that it had reached a critical mass of popularity and participation – no small feat for an event only in its second year.
In only two years, the economic impact of the event increased from $1 million to $4.9 million. More than 500 artists and 125 cultural institutions participated in the 2007 event, and the TTC remained open all night for the first time in decades.
Support from the arts community, corporate sponsors and the City of Toronto has been unparalleled – providing the resources to further expand the event into new exhibition sites, to improve traffic flow and increase the scale and scope of monumental art projects. Additionally, a Volunteer Advisory Board was established to assist in selecting and guiding curators and the curatorial process for years to come.
On Saturday, October 4, 2008 close to a million revellers took to Toronto’s streets to participate in this playful sunset-to-sunrise celebration. The event brought together the exceptional talents of more than 750 artists and curators, 450 docents and volunteers, 92 galleries, museums, cultural and educational institutions and neighbourhoods, and 24 corporate sponsors and media partners.
Scotiabank Nuit Blanche 2008 brought 136,000 tourists to the city. The event generated $16.7 million in local economic impact (direct, indirect and induced), $18.3 million direct spending (visitor and operational spending) and 244 jobs for the community, while adding $7.6 million to the Federal and Provincial tax coffers.
Toronto’s fourth annual Scotiabank Nuit Blanche engaged audiences in a massive participatory celebration of contemporary art. Building on the success of past event’s interactive art projects, the concept of audience participation was taken to a whole new level. On Saturday, October 3, 2009 close to a million members of the public literally became the art they had ventured out all night to see. New interactive tools including the Night Navigator iPhone/Blackberry app and My Night itinerary encouraged everyone to share pictures and schedules, tweet, text and talk to each other as they explored the city well into the wee hours of the morning.
Survey results indicate that over 100,000 tourists were motivated to visit Toronto to attend the event, helping to generate $18 million in local economic impact, an increase of 24 per cent over last year, as a result of visitors traveling longer distances to attend the event and an increase in overnight hotel stays.
Scotiabank People’s Choice
Each year event revellers are invited to vote for their favourite contemporary art projects as part of the Scotiabank People’s Choice. The three projects receiving the most votes are awarded $5,000 generously donated by Scotiabank.
2007 Scotiabank People’s Choice selections:
2008 Scotiabank People’s Choice selections:
2009 Scotiabank People’s Choice selections:
Maria Legault, The Apology Project, 2009
Jerome McGrath and Rina Grosman, The Lost and Found Forest, 2009
Twofold, by GALTstudio (Mike Love, Dan McTavish, Shane Neill, Virginia Fernandez, Catherine Westgate, Brian Muthaliff, Sayjel Patel), 2009
Nuit Blanche was originally conceived in Paris, France in 2002, in an attempt to bring contemporary art to the masses in public spaces. Now universally translated as ‘Sleepless Night’, Nuit Blanche brings more than a million people to the streets of Paris every year. In 2005, Paris organizers contacted the City of Toronto’s Special Events office with an invitation to join the ranks of approximately six other European cities producing similar all-night events. The international success of Nuit Blanche continues to build each year and has expanded its reach beyond Paris to Brussels, Rome, Bucharest, Riga, Madrid, La Valette, Portugal, Tokyo, Montreal and Leeds – each offering its own version of the all-night art extravaganza.
Toronto was the first North American city to fully replicate the Paris model, and has inspired similar celebrations throughout North America, including San Francisco, New York, Miami and Chicago.
At its core, Nuit Blanche is a 12-hour event with a mandate to make contemporary art accessible to large audiences, while inspiring dialogue and engaging the public to examine its significance and impact on public space. Nuit Blanche is both a “high art” event and a free populous event that encourages celebration and community engagement. From sunset to sunrise city spaces and neighbourhoods are transformed into temporary exhibitions. Unusual or forbidden spaces become sites of contemporary art open for all-night discovery and rediscovery. Cultural institutions, from museums to galleries to artist run centres, open their doors and offer free access to contemporary art. The everyday is suspended as the city’s landscape is changed to welcome a variety of artistic experiences.
Toronto’s Scotiabank Nuit Blanche has wholeheartedly embraced these principals, and has become a cultural phenomenon the likes of which the city has never seen.
Urban Leadership Award
The Canadian Urban Institute awarded Scotiabank Nuit Blanche 2006 with the prestigious Urban Leadership Award (City Initiatives category). The Urban Leadership Awards program honours those who have made a profound and lasting impact on the quality of urban life.
Globe & Mail Business for the Arts Award
Scotiabank has been awarded the Globe and Mail Business for the Arts Award for Best Arts/Entrepreneur Partnership for their highly successful collaboration with the City of Toronto on Scotiabank Nuit Blanche. Business for the Arts is a national business association dedicated to increasing the quantity and quality of partnerships between business and the arts through a cohesive set of programs that foster and promote business leadership in the arts, facilitate funding relationships and connect business volunteers to the Arts. The Globe and Mail Business for the Arts Awards recognize companies that show outstanding commitment to the arts in Canada.
Each year the Centre for Contemporary Canadian Art creates a legacy website where past Scotiabank Nuit Blanche events are archived and celebrated.