The Night of Artists: its name is actually the easiest descriptor of it, though things are far more complex and a lot bigger in scale than just that. It isn’t one night, for one thing. It’s a Friday to Sunday affair, with an early Thursday kickoff, and it takes place in the daytime as well as the night. And that’s just the start.
It’s all things “ART” wrapped up into one: a festival, an Art Walk art fair, a dress-y gala or two, a book launch, an art battle, a magazine launch, and much more. That’s not even really mentioning the Mayor’s Celebration of the Arts Awards, set to take place on Thursday, March 21 (look to Anna Borowiecki’s coverage of the one-night event coming in the Wednesday, March 20 edition).
To really summarize what Night of Artists is requires a “diving into the deep end” mentality, but one that any art lover would never regret. However, you slice it, it’s a huge, huge deal.
“It’s the biggest show we’ve ever had. We have 60 some artists this year so that would definitely put it probably over 1,200 to 1,500 pieces of artwork on display. It’s the first year that I've had to turn away such a large amount of artists that wanted to be participating strictly because of a venue space,” previewed Phil Alain, the main organizer of the colossal event.
“It's just exciting that the show continues to grow in St. Albert. That’s a really big positive for the show, and we're nearing a sellout as well for the Friday night, which is another great thing.”
To kick things off …
In keeping with grand artist tradition, next Friday’s starter evening event is a jubilant extravaganza gala with performances by some stellar entertainers including the folksy fiddling Daniel Gervais Trio, Stringbeans Quartet – billed as Alberta's premier pop string quartet, Edmonton’s incredible Firefly Theatre and high flying aerial circus, and oh yeah … a belly dancer.
Yes, a belly dancer. His name is Viraj.
“For people that haven’t seen him before, it’s quite the sight. He’s extremely entertaining and it’s just not what you would expect from a belly dancer. There’s not very many male belly dancers in the world and he’s one of the best ones in North America,” Alain said.
There will also be an Art Battle between NOA fixture Lewis Lavoie and Brie Craner, Igor Postash, Jani Galarneau and Natalie Bryson, who will also be playing music over the weekend. That’s a pretty good way for a gala to start off a weekend of art and celebration. Nolan Crouse will play auctioneer, selling off the hastily splashed works after all the paint is dry.
And that’s just the start.
The weekend of wonders
After Friday’s festivities and fun, you should really come back to the Enjoy Centre on Saturday, and then again on Sunday, and stay for the whole event. There’s way more than enough to make it worthwhile, said co-organizer Karen Bishop.
“There’s something every hour,” she said. “Even if you come Friday night, come back.”
Among all of those painters, woodworkers, stone and clay sculptors, glass artists, jewellers and more, there will be door prizes given out throughout the weekend for people who register online at www.nightofartists.com. The Art Walk is open and free on Saturday and Sunday. There’s music all weekend, too, making it one of the most immersive art experiences that the city has to offer.
Taking art home at the end of the ‘Night’
Of course, the artists are there to show off their works and make some sales, too. As always, organizers will have the new edition of the Night of Artists magazine for sale as well. It will be available during the Mayor’s Awards and throughout the weekend.
It’s not just a program guide for the weekend. It’s more like an art catalogue book, something to keep the collectors coming back for more year after year.
“We’re featuring articles about St. Albert’s public art program as well as the new gallery. There’s lots of good local stories in there for people to appreciate the art community of St. Albert,” Alain said.
The other big publication coming to NOA this year comes from his other side project with Mural Mosaic. The art company spent three years travelling the country creating massive murals in approximately 100 communities with the help of more than 80,000 people. The catch: those murals were all thematically connected, turning into one big train that spanned all the provinces and one territory, all as part of a colossal sesquicentennial birthday present in time for Canada’s 150th in 2017.
All of those murals have been reproduced in the hardcover coffee table book called the Canada 150 National Mural Mosaic Book.
“Through a lot of effort and working with the communities across the country, we finally managed to get it all put into a book. Every mural is in this book, and we’ve been waiting to launch it. We just finally got the books in and we’re going to launch it where everything started at the show here. It’s pretty exciting,” Alain said. “It’s just been an unbelievable legacy for so many to enjoy. I can’t wait to travel back across the country just to see all the murals and all the different towns and cities myself.”
On top of all of that, there will be several other artists who have book presentations of their own.
“The creative energy in the Moonflower Room is palpable; it’s a joyous intermingling of artists and visitors delighting in the hundreds of original new artworks while listening to the musical repertoire of the NOA performing artists.” – Madeleine Arnett
“Even if you’re not coming to buy art, you can still meet the artists and learn about their craft. If you want to come during the weekend when it’s not quite as busy, you can really get to know your favourite artist.” – Crystal Driedger
“I joined NOA last year and felt honoured to be in a show with so many talented, creative artists. I can't say enough about Phil and everything he has done to make this show successful for all of us. Phil has the biggest heart and makes everyone feel welcomed. It really is a family of artists coming together to share their talents with one another and the community.” – Cindy McLaren
“To me, the NOA event offers a meaningful occasion to connect with community.” – Rhonda Lund
“I am super excited to be a part of this fabulous event. I have been working on a brand new series of art to showcase at the event.” – Linda Finstad
“Participating in the Night of Artists for the last four years has been a wonderful opportunity to be involved with an artistic family, in an extravaganza of art and entertainment. Definitely, something to see. Walking into the Enjoy Centre one enters a world of colour, talent and entertainment. It’s the place to be.” – Cathy Bible
“I am beyond excited to participate in NOA again this year – it's such a strong community of supportive and diversely talented people. When we’re all in that room showcasing creations we're really proud of, it's quite powerful. Everyone glows.” – Kacy Doucet
“I’m really looking forward to the opportunity to share my artwork with a broader audience and build connections. I love that NOA has a genuine passion for the arts and a desire to support and celebrate the artists. It provides you with a real sense of community. Everyone should take time to unplug and explore this awesome event. It’s sure to be a feast for your senses.” – Amanda Milke
“NOA is an amazing show for myself as an artist. It is one of the only times where us artists can see each other’s work and how we have grown within our specialties. It is a one-of-a-kind event that truly supports the arts.” – Carleen Ross
“NOA for me is an opportunity to meet great people, great artists, make friends, exchange experiences, even learn something new, and make new customers and show my paintings to people.” – Igor Postash
“I couldn’t be more grateful for the supportive and inspiring artist family I have gained. I felt welcomed right from the beginning. The confidence I have gained through participating in the show and the beautiful network of people I have met have been instrumental in my art career. Although the show is only once a year, I feel like I have gained a family of artists who support each other throughout the entire year.” – Shelby Willis
“When I joined NOA seven years ago, I was over the moon, and I still am. I am so very glad to be part of NOA, not only because of the wonderful people, but because of what it has done for my career by bringing more notice to my art.” – Memory Roth
“This event gives artists an opportunity to showcase their work in a beautiful venue and there is nothing else like it. As a group, we are like a family and Phil Alain is our fearless leader. He works so hard to make it perfect and is much appreciated.” – Leanne Schnierer
“The level of talent within the group of artists is amazing. As an emerging artist and first-time NOA artist, I feel very honoured and privileged to be sharing my work with such a talented group of individuals.” – Michelle Erickson
“For me, Night of Artists is an artistically energizing weekend that gives me the opportunity to connect and reconnect with patrons, fellow artists and friends. I look forward to Friday night when the doors open and Night of Artists 2019 begins.” – Carol Johnson
“Last year, I attended NOA and was blown away by what this show had to offer. It was such a great evening out with so much to see and take in. I just kept thinking that I really want to be a part of this. This is really special.” – Kevin Bigelow
“The Night of Artists show is an amazing weekend for both artists and art lovers. When all the artists get together, it is like family except we don’t have a little sister that is annoying, or an older brother that still eats his boogers. Instead, it is a family so full of bright and shiny talent that when you leave, your heart is full and you’re looking forward to putting up that new piece of art.” – Jared Robinson
“It has allowed me not only to showcase my work, but to network with other artists in the region. Through NOA, I also gained the opportunity to be a contributing artist for the Canada 150 Mural Mosaic. It was these opportunities that attracted me to NOA, but what has kept me here is so much better. NOA is more than a collective of artists; it’s a family. NOA is a collective of artists who believe in community over competition. I can’t imagine a better group of people.” – Meghan MacMillan
“There has been an amazing synergy with artists willing to help each other. As an artist I couldn't ask for much more. NOA opens many new doors for me and I'm excited to step through.” – Jani Galarneau
“It is great to spend the days creating and making my visions in wood come to life, but it means nothing if the final pieces cannot be shared with others. NOA will offer me a chance to reach a wider audience that may not have seen my work before.” – Darrell Pydde
“It’s such an exciting event to be a part of. I’m looking forward to reconnecting with artist friends from out-of-town and being immersed in the warm NOA camaraderie. I’m also thrilled about the performer lineup, especially the acrobatics of Firefly Theatre at the Friday Night Gala.” – Julie Kaldenhoven
“My first experience with NOA was as a guest supporting a fellow artist. It wasn’t until I arrived when I realized what an incredibly exciting event it was. The energy was intense and fun with live performances, over 40 artists, food, drinks and hundreds of art lovers. At that moment I knew I had to participate. So the following year I did. What keeps me coming back each year is not just the success of the show but also the support the artists give one another. I am excited to see what my fellow artists and now good friends are bringing to the show this year and of course meeting all of the art lovers who make it out to support the event.” – Nosheen Pervez
“I am a new member of the NOA family and I am feeling very blessed and grateful and I am very excited to show my art amongst all these talented artists. It is the joy of showing people what we enjoy so much to create, and maybe even find a new owner for it!” – Sabina Bonifazi
“I am very honoured to have been accepted into Night of Artists this year. I have known this show to be one of the best that our local arts community has going on and I can't wait to be a part of it.” – Nathan Devlin
“This is my first NOA exhibit and I can tell you I am over-the-moon excited to have the opportunity to show my work in this event. Art is very personal and I am just now attempting to build my confidence to show my art. To be selected to this venue is an incredible boost to my confidence and confidence is the very essence of growth.” – Dave Hogg
“I am really looking forward to meeting more of my fellow artists in person as I’ve been following them on social media. Painting in our studios is very solitary and it’s a treat to get together with like-minded people. I paint what is in my soul. It’s an emotional process to create and people tell me they feel it when they look at the art.” – Michelle Lake
“At its simplest, it is an opportunity to show and sell art. At its most complex, it is a reunion of like-minded friends co-operating in an art and music fair, with fine food and fashion.” – Miles Constable
“This is my fifth year at NOA and I’m very excited to be back. NOA is a highlight of the year as it kicks off the spring/summer art show season. What I love about it most is the unusual environment that really allows artists to show their work, on their terms. Artists often have to display their work at outdoor art-walks or in galleries, and do not have a lot of options to create a dynamic display. NOA really allows us to play and create a little gallery for three days.” – Karen Melnyk
“Growing up in a house with a very talented mother, I was constantly surrounded by unique and creative individuals to help me develop my skills. My favourite part of NOA is to be surrounded by incredible artists for three days and be immersed in the art world. Artists are constantly talking and creating at NOA and it really cultivates a culture of creativity.” – Meghan Gilson
“The Night of Artists, to me, is my extended family. I know all of us say that, but it really is true. Phil Alain created an event that really honours and showcases the skilled creative person as a professional, and because of the respect and the sense of value we are given for our craft, we in turn can encourage and support other artists. I believe because Night of Artists features high quality art and music, a first-class accompanying art magazine, excellence in event content and style, NOA values the arts, the artists and welcomes the patron who might become a collector. For that everyone wins, and I love being a part of that.” – Jori Warren
“It is by far my favourite event of the year. Phil Alain does such an amazing job of organizing the event and bringing together so many different types of artists. The NOA group of artists are a very talented and caring group who go above and beyond to support each other. There is a reason we call our group the NOA family. Everyone looks after each other, which really is what makes our community strong.” – Renee Lippa
“The arts are the chocolate chips in the cookie of life. So, Night of Artists is like having a whole bag of chocolate chips. What could be sweeter? Night of Artists gives me a chance to show my new work to the public, to be inspired by other fantastic artists, and celebrate the arts.” – Linda McBain Cuyler
“At the tender age of 60, I landed up becoming an instructor with Pavepol. And now at 65, I'm an artist and being accepted into the Night of Artists last year was a huge touchstone for me on my success. I consider the Night of Artists to be a pretty elite group of artisans. The quality and the talent of what’s available in that group is truly amazing. Phil Alain has done an outstanding job of creating a community.” – Bev Oliwa