The idea that appreciating art takes place in a stuffy gallery as you snootily discuss the merits of a piece has evolved greatly with innovative events and initiatives making art much more accessible to the world at large. We can now appreciate and connect with art in a variety of ways (and vice versa – artists can connect with people, that is) in fresh new ways.
Take Nuit Blanche, for starters. The arts and cultural festival that lasts into the early morning hours was launched in France in 2002 and has since grown to include more than 100 cities around the world, including Toronto, Montreal and this year Calgary joined the list. During Nuit Blanche, numerous galleries, outdoor spaces and the like stay open all night, creating a fun, informal atmosphere that makes the art accessible to everyone.
Or how about making art available to be viewed and enjoyed in heavily trafficked areas, such as offices and office-building lobbies? Montreal company ArtAnwhere does just that. ArtAnywhere does not charge for the temporary exhibitions (so it’s a great way for companies to dress up drab corporate spaces), however if a piece is purchased, the artist owes a commission to ArtAnywhere. The arrangement is win-win given that it gives local artists exposure that they might not be able to gain otherwise for showing their work.
Graffiti is also earning a better reputation in the art world. In Toronto, Canada’s largest graffiti mural has just finished completion just west of downtown. Known as “The Reclamation Project,” the 300 metres long and six-metre high mural has given graffiti more credibility in the city. With work from 65 artists from across Canada, you can peek in on a few of them just west of the downtown core. Given that frequently tagged public spaces can regularly be painted over, only to be tagged once again, opting for a commissioned graffiti mural helps to resolve that issue.
As for performance art, let’s not forget flash mobs. Although now so common their effect may be diluted, flash mobs, that is the brief, seemingly spontaneous event involving a large group of people, can help create buzz and excitement about a particular creative outlet or even to launch a product. In Vancouver this year, there was a flash mob to help commemorate Canada Day, and of course, there was a winter 2010 Olympics flash mob. And in London, Ont., earlier this month, the city tried to get into the international spotlight by organizing Canada’s largest flash mob, but fell just short of setting the record.
Alternatively, with one Canadian outpost (and others in New York and Miami) in Toronto, The Society, a culture club helps to expose members to new genres and new inspiration they might not otherwise be privy to. Past events have included a chat with Trainspotting author Irvine Welch and a graffiti art bike tour.
Pop-up galleries are also injecting a bit of temporary, see-it-while-you-can fun into the art mix as well. Last month in Vancouver, video blog Hot Art Wet City opened up a pop-up gallery on the west coast, while in Toronto, Art Beyond Walls is aimed at bringing a mix of artists from across North America to the city in different venues and blending both visual and performing arts with a charitable angle—proceeds go to an art-related cause.
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