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Art Aloud: The Scotiabank Nuit Blanche Lecture Series


Photo: "Speaker on a Hydrant" by blogTO Flickr pooler LT.

I realize that panel discussions aren't exactly the sexiest of events, but given all the hype surrounding Nuit Blanche, I had expected a packed auditorium last night at Art Aloud: the first of two lectures brought to you by the folks at Nuit Blanche. Not only was the panel free, it was also moderated by Christopher Hume himself, urban issues guru and columnist for the Toronto Star.

The panel was held at OCAD in an aditorium fit for 200. With just over 50 in attendance the night was more an intimate dialogue than a critical debate. Where were all the OCAD kids anyhow? Despite the lack of bums in seats there was an undeniable sense of support for both the artists on panel and Nuit Blance as a whole, made clear by a vocal and passionate audience.

Last night's panel focused on the ephemeral nature of Nuit Blanche, its affect on Torontonians, and the larger role contemporary art plays in everyday life. Like any good writer and moderator will do, Christopher Hume brought some spice to the night with his offhanded remarks and sharp wit.

Praising Nuit Blanche as the one night a year when contemporary art can "step outside of its own self-imposed ghetto" and its "dreary art galleries", Hume pushed some buttons among a few curators in the house and some artists on panel.

The point he was making, I believe, is one that seems to get lost in the hype of Nuit Blanche. Nuit Blanche is ultimately a success because it engages the public on such a massive scale; a public, for the most part, unaccustomed to the wild world of contemporary art. The question is then, how can we use the momentum of Nuit Blanche to make contemporary art meaningful to a broader public 364 days a year?

Last panel tonight!
Laura Belem Talk
Friday September 28
6:30-8:30 pm
Ontario College of Art & Design
100 McCaul St
Auditorium, Level 1


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