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Night of Artists ready for its triumphant return

The long-awaited weekend-long cultural celebration is coming back.

DETAILS

Night of Artists

Friday, March 18 to Sunday, March 20

Gala on Friday evening. Doors open at 6:30 p.m.

Entry for all events is free by donation

NOA ArtWalk is on Saturday from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. and on Sunday from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Visit nightofartists.com for more information and to pre-register for attendance.

Want to get out for a weekend of art showings and entertainment? Of course you do, and so do all of your friends and family.

Well, there’s great news for you, as Night of Artists is ready to return for the first time since 2019. It’s been a heckuva slog through the pandemic and organizer/director Phil Alain is going to make this return feel like the party you — and he — have been waiting for.

“There's been a great, great interest in the public for the events. I'm very happy. It seems like people in these really challenging times are just wanting to get out and do something that will bring a smile to their faces, I think,” he said, with more than a hint of understatement.

It goes without saying that the artists are very excited as well. The pandemic has prevented them from public art events and open-door studio days, and undeniably halted sales of artworks, keeping them from making a living and supporting their creative drives. Night of Artists 2022 couldn’t have come at a better time for all.

Smiles on faces are guaranteed all around, indeed. While Alain had the chance to hype Night, he was also able to drop an announcement that capacity limits for host facility Enjoy Centre have been pumped up, too. At first, the cap was 500 people at a time, but pre-registration for the attendance is already past those numbers now, he said, and not just for the opening gala, but the ArtWalk through the rest of the weekend as well.

Put far too simply, Night of Artists runs like a trade show except that with more than 50 local artists displaying their works in an atmosphere with live art and arts performances happening, it feels more akin to a festival.

That festival starts on the evening of Friday, March 18 with its traditional opening-night gala to kick things off with banging drums, serene singers, and painters painting like swash buckled pirates having a sword fight with canvases.

Look — and listen — for progressive world folk acoustic group Bardic Form, melodic chanteuse Carrie Day, multi-genre master Natalie B, and lively harmonizers CHANCE to take the stage.

“The Night of Artists is a spectacle for the eyes, ears, and imagination,” offered St. Albert-raised musician Allyson MacIvor, who would otherwise be looking forward to her spot in the crowd if it weren’t for another gig that same night in the U.S.

“It is a radically inclusive community centered on supporting artists and charities through discovery and authentic human connection. The Night of Artists is more than an enchanting festival: it is the springboard of creators from all around. Thank you, Night of Artists. Though I am performing in NYC, you are what ‘home’ sounds like to me.”

As if the music isn't enough to draw your attention, there will be a sideshow of live art while Natalie B has the mic. Artists Lewis Lavoie, Karen Bishop, Denise Lefebvre, and Jani Galarneau will each start and finish a painting while the audience watches and all will then be auctioned off in support of Amy's House, an Edmonton residence for cancer patients who travel at least 150 kilometres to receive treatment at the Cross Cancer Institute.

“The auction is designed to support the artists as well as support Amy's House, so 50 per cent of all the auction items go right back to the artist because they've had such a tough go over the last little while. The other 50 per cent goes to keep Amy's House operating because we haven't been able to do anything for fundraising for two years as well. It's a double win, I guess you could say,” Alain said, adding that the facility has mostly operated at capacity since it opened in 2019.

The house is a tribute to his wife, who tragically lost her battle with cancer earlier that same year. It opened on what would have been her 39th birthday.

“It's been amazing. It really is changing people's lives and helping in a real tough time for so many people. It's been really wonderful how it came to life so quickly with all the great support from so many people.”

The ArtWalk weekend

More than 50 artists will be in full public mode with their booths set up and brimming with art they’ve been creating over the last two years or more. 

Long-time participant Oksana Zhelisko couldn't be more pleased to once again take part.

"When I met Phil in 2008, I had no idea that he would send me on a journey full of inspiration and artistic opportunities," she offered.

"Night of Artists brings together so many different artists in different ways, accentuating each and every one's way of viewing the world, bringing a beautiful and vibrant contrast that affects each and every one of our world views. I am really looking forward to seeing and reconnecting with my fellow artists and sharing my new body of work in this spectacular event."

Joining her in praise for the event and what it does for the cultural community is Igor Postash.

“For me this coming exhibition is great opportunity to meet my artist friends. Long time, no see; I really miss all of them. Plus, it’s a chance for me to help Amy’s House," he enthused. "Hopefully, I will meet some of my customers and maybe meet some new people."

During the ArtWalk, there will be even more entertainment, featuring live performances by John Spearn, Beth Portman, Hannah Goa, Dana Wylie, Phyllis Sinclair, Alberta Heartland and CHANCE, and Derek Dunn.

"I think it's the perfect two days for people to get out and just wander. First of all, the Enjoy Centre is the perfect venue for it because it's like you're outdoors when you're not," Alain continued. "You get the beautiful vibe of the facility full of hundreds of pieces of artwork. It's a great way to spend your Saturday or Sunday just grabbing a coffee and wandering through. There'll be artists actually probably working on art pieces while they're in their little areas, and there is live music going all weekend long as well so you can actually just really make a nice day out of it. Everything is open to the family: it's not just for adults. Anybody's welcome and it's just all by donation."


Scott Hayes

About the Author: Scott Hayes

Scott Hayes joined the St. Albert Gazette in 2008. Scott writes about the arts, entertainment, movies, culture, community groups, and charities. He also writes general news, features, columns, and profiles on people.
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