6 A decade of mag­i­cal think­ing 2017 high­lights

Week­end, Oc­to­ber 13-15, 2017 Hal­i­fax art event reaches mile­stone Hal­i­fax

StarMetro Halifax - - NEWS - Ha­ley ryan Metro | Hal­i­fax

Strange lights dance on the har­bour and across brick build­ings as mu­sic, laugh­ter and calls of “Hey, did you see this?” drift over the large crowds mov­ing through Hal­i­fax’s dark­ened streets.

In it’s 10th year, Noc­turne: Art at Night this Satur­day has grown to at­tract more than 30,000 peo­ple to ex­plore Hal­i­fax and Dart­mouth for a free “mag­i­cal” night that show­cases artists’ work in pub­lic spa­ces or gal­leries, boosts lo­cal busi­ness, and changes how we see pub­lic spa­ces for the rest of the year.

Reach­ing ten years feels like Noc­turne has been “set in stone,” says ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor Lind­say Ann Cory.

“We’re a … sta­ple event here in Hal­i­fax, and be­cause we have that abil­ity to be nim­ble we can keep chang­ing it, and it’s not the same ev­ery year,” Cory said in an in­ter­view at the Hal­i­fax Pub­lic Gar­dens, site of this year’s mul­ti­ple An­chor projects, along­side Noc­turne co-founder and past chair Rose Zack.

Both women agreed Noc­turne’s suc­cess is owed to the small but mighty and “nim­ble” force of un­paid board of di­rec­tors, artists, sup­port­ers and vol­un­teers that have kept the event evolv­ing and re­act­ing to dif­fer­ent things go­ing on in the city each year — per­haps bet­ter than a larger in­sti­tu­tion could.

But mostly, Zack said the amount of pub­lic in­ter­est has as­tounded or­ga­niz­ers from year one — when they weren’t even sure if they would go beyond a one-off event. That year, Zack said a crowd of 4,000 peo­ple over­whelmed artists and busi­ness own­ers on Bar­ring­ton Street.

Now, Cory says she knows many restau­rants, shops and busi­nesses put on Noc­turne projects or spe­cials, with some say­ing it’s their busiest night of the year.

Zack said over the years, the core val­ues of the event on sup­port­ing artists and mak­ing it ac­ces­si­ble haven’t changed, be­sides im­prove­ments like adding a cu­ra­tor or paid staff mem­ber A stroll through the Pub­lic Gar­dens for Noc­turne this Satur­day will show pro­jec­tions and dancers weav­ing amongst the flower beds as An­chor projects in the 2017 theme of Van­ish.

Cu­ra­tors Anna Sprague and Emily Lawrence worked with the artists to ar­rive at th­ese projects in one con­tained area for the first time, with so­lar­power bat­ter­ies also used for the first time.

Van­ish asks peo­ple to re­visit city sites and think about other his­to­ries that aren’t as preva­lent as ones we know, Sprague said, like find­ing ways to mark Canada 150 as set­tlers.

An­chor projects in­clude light in­stal­la­tions, dance, for the first time this year.

It’s been ex­cit­ing to see the cal­i­bre of art get more in­ter­est­ing each year, Zack and Cory said, adding their favourite part of Noc­turne is hav­ing projects spring to mind for the rest of the year when look­ing at lo­cal spa­ces, like the fer­ris wheel on top of Ci­tadel Hill, or a grave­yard where passersby wrote sculp­tures of beds un­der soil, a party bus filled with BIPOC (Black, In­dige­nous, peo­ple of colour) per­form­ers, and the strug­gle of clay be­ing pushed through the Gar­dens’ gates that’s an “op­por­tu­nity for di­a­logue sur­round­ing race and Is­lam­o­pho­bia.”

Other high­lights of the roughly 102 projects in­clude AIRHORN at the Cen­tral Li­brary (live mu­sic scored to glit­ter paint­ing and move­ment), In­ter-har­bour Com­mu­ni­ca­tion Co. on both wa­ter­fronts (sib­lings sep­a­rated by the har­bour try­ing to com­mu­ni­cate with large let­ters and signs), and Mark Hines shin­ing a light on Ci­tadel Hill from NSCAD. mes­sages to the dead.

“You have a vague sil­hou­ette of an ex­pe­ri­ence that you had for one night only, and there’s some el­e­ment of magic there that … makes the city feel more in­ti­mate, and feel more con­nected,” added 2017 Noc­turne co-cu­ra­tor Anna Sprague.

Look­ing to the fu­ture, Cory said grow­ing the event might not nec­es­sar­ily mean more projects, but more re­sources to sup­port artists do­ing largescale work, more artist talks lead­ing up to the event, and find­ing ways for peo­ple in ru­ral parts of HRM to get back and forth.

Zane Wood­ford/metro

Noc­turne ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor Lind­say Ann cory.

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