This year, Nuit Blanche is celebrating its sixth year in Winnipeg. Since then, the party has grown outside of the Winnipeg Art Gallery, independent galleries of the Exchange District and has moved into our downtown streets and back lanes.
It has been a welcomed change in breaking the perceptions of downtown Winnipeg as dangerous, especially at night.
This year is already set out to be more extravagant than last year. Since Synonym Art Consultation has brought talented local and national artists into public spaces with their fourth annual Wall-to-Wall mural festival, the number of people attending Nuit Blanche events has grown as large as the murals they’ve made.
Montreal was the first city to bring the Paris tradition to Canada in 2003 and many major cities have happily followed suit.
Toronto has consistently brought in one million attendees every year since 2008, making it Canada’s largest Nuit Blanche.
Although Winnipeg is far from hitting the one million mark, last year’s event brought in 17,000 people, which was an 11 per cent increase from 2014 according to Culture Days Manitoba.
And just from my experiences of partaking in the dusk till dawn parties in the last five years, I have noticed an increase in crowds and lines getting longer.
The Rainbow Trout Music Festival Bike Gallery Craw, which is usually a grand tradition every year, is becoming an unorganized and sometimes dangerous mess of people. And many bike jam enthusiasts I know are reverting back to small-scale groups of friends instead this year.
I am usually a cheerleader for all things art, especially if it promotes local talent. But with its rising popularity, I’m feeling nostalgic for the small-scale community party feel Nuit Blanche once had.
My personal enjoyment when attending any show comes from seeing friends, catching up with long time pals, and being able to get up close and intimate with an artist’s work.
Now I’m feeling like a passionate season holder ticket, being thrown into the Grey Cup game, seeing only highlights from the half time show.
However, the great things about Nuit Blanche haven’t changed, and the growth of our city’s interest in art is definitely something to celebrate.
Joy Balmana is a Public Relations major in Creative Communications.
Her free time is spent wandering around Winnipeg’s downtown galleries, other cites across the world,
or her kitchen figuring out what to cook next.
See the world her way on Instagram at @byoj
or hear what all that muttering is on Twitter @_byoj.