Halifax: Seeing in the dark

Block one and the bleached glow from a gallery open long past closing time bleeds into the pedestrian stippled sidewalk. Block two and a set of storefront windows blink and wink with the darting movements of massive projections of the human eye. Around the corner, the local architecture school has opened its doors to a cardboard city with stations for Haligonians to pull out the scissors and add to a mini metropolis.

Further downtown, galleries, shops and alleyways siphon in and pump out thousands of Nocturne’s (nocturnehalifax.ca) participants. The people of Halifax that have come out for the first edition of this free, late-night art event.

Running from 6:00 p.m. to midnight on Saturday, October 18, Nocturne invited art-goers and newbies alike to explore the city’s galleries and a host of installations and performances. Artists filled each unique space with their work—from pieces by emerging artists that lined small studios, to innovative creations built within the city’s dark nooks, to familiar names tacked up on the whitewashed walls of Halifax’s well-known galleries.

And the audience wasn’t left out of the night’s activity: young artists sketched impromptu portraits at 1313 Hollis, local screen-printing company Yo Rodeo had its viewers in 3D glasses at Blink Gallery and young artist Wes Johnson had pedestrians playing, mid-step, with light and sound on the cold sidewalk. Boutiques, too, bit into the night’s energy: Stephanie Fortin featured her fashion illustrations, with their smooth strokes of black ink and watercolour, amidst the frocks at my favourite dress shop, Sweet Pea Boutique on Queen Street.

Spilling this city’s art scene out from open gallery doors, Nocturne has shed new light (and new life) on the possibilities of Halifax, its culture and its night.

Shown: Wes Johnson’s Phantom Stacks

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