The streets of Saskatoon came alive with art installations for Saskatoon’s annual Nuit Blanche.
Installations were dispersed throughout the downtown, Broadway and Riversdale areas and 33rd Street during the nights of March 19 and 20 for an art festival free of charge. The theme this year was Winter’s End, celebrating the warmer weather coming.
A community effort, many local businesses collaborated with the event and made featured drinks, hosted supplementary events, and stayed open late during the two nights.
In addition to the installations on the streets, people were able to read about the artists and their artworks online at the Nuit Blanche website. Some installations had additional pieces that were only available online.
On Broadway, there were two installations, as well as lit-up trees that sang songs with the wind.
On the side of Oskāyak High School, artist Hiba Abdallah projected statements about reflection and change for her installation Declarations for a Different Future. Further along Broadway Avenue at The Better Good was an installation by Stephanie Kuse and GLAZ called Semblance II where distorted colours danced across the store windows to an ambient soundtrack.
Partnering with Nuit Blanche, Broadway’s UNA Pizza and Wine created a drink called the Martini aux Fleurs for festival goers that wanted a refreshment break.
Downtown also featured two installations. Jody Lerat and Melody Wood created a photo and video piece at the Francis Morrison Library called Uncensored that showcased photos of queer and trans individuals with gold glitter streaked across their body. Another installation called Aurora Volta by Laura Payne mixed technology and digital media to create colourful light images displayed in the fourth floor windows of the Canada Building.
In addition to the installations, Remai Modern collaborated with Nuit Blanche and stayed open late as well as provided hands-on art-making for festival goers.
Downtown had multiple local bars partnered with Nuit Blanche, such as Picaro Cocktails and Tacos, and Parlor. Picaro Cocktails and Tacos made a featured drink called the Noche Blanco and Parlor made a featured drink called The Midnight Hour, both inspired by the night.
In Riversdale, there was one installation called Annus Mirabilis Transformation 2020 by Monique Martin that used butterflies to show the transformation many people have had to go through this past year.
The final neighbourhood was 33rd Street, which included two installations. Zachary Knuttila created an installation called Learning to Tie Shoes that projected hypnotizing animations of ropes intertwining and following different paths on a screen.
The other installation, called Red Mihkiwahp, was created by Kevin Wesaquate. It was a storytelling project centered around Indigenous culture that included a full-size tipi, 30 miniature tipis and a performance film featuring Wesaquate himself.
In addition to the installations on the streets, the festival included an online piece by Rebecca La Marre called 1-833-SAD-GRDN, which was a performance video and live stream where she used herbs to create cyanotype exposures on ceramic surfaces using S.A.D. lamps.
Nuit Blanche ensured that the festival was safe by making each installation accessible through a vehicle. People were able to find the installation through a map and had the option to use an app that would allow them to sign in at installations for a chance at a gift basket full of merchandise and gift certificates to local businesses.
Although this Nuit Blanche was different from past events, it received lots of support from the community and had a large turnout. The next Nuit Blanche will occur in September — back to when it is usually run.