|From Left, Jasmine Lanthier-Brun holding a painting; Baily with F.E.M.S. (Farm Expression Marionette Shows); and David Beaudoin, DJ Froggy's Stylz. They and others will be part of the Nuit Blanche, all-night art party at the French Cultural Centre on Saturday.|
The celebration is tied in with Cultural Days and Culture Week, a popular event in the savvy city of Montreal,
Called Nuit Blanche (White Night), it has attracted thousands of people into the wee hours of the morning to take part in music, song, art and foods.
"I've been there, and the sight of so many people on a cold, frosty night in the middle of winter is most amazing," said Jasmine Lanthier-Brun, events co-ordinator at the French Cultural Centre in Kelowna.
"The streets are packed with people, the art galleries and museums are open all night, there are cafes and bars and bands playing. Art studios are open to everyone, and the best thing is that all of it â€¦ is absolutely free."
In Montreal, as in other cities around the world, including Barcelona, St. Petersburg, Buenos Aires, Naples, Cairo and Havana, the evening centers on viewing high art, delving into free workshops, viewing art films and spontaneous entertainment.
In some of those very old cities, with old art and museums, the events include flashlight tours of museums and exotic bands and much dead of the night hoopla.
Of note is the late evening revelry in Toronto recently, which attracted an attendance of one-million culture-lovers to its chilly streets.
To be able to bring a semblance of the cultural days all-night event to Kelowna was a suggestion from an employee of the French Cultural Centre, and the cause was quickly and enthusiastically picked up by the rest of those involved.
"This is taking a very, very big international idea, and making it smaller and suited to our community," she said. "We'll be showcasing local artists, there will be a continuous showing of short art films, a collaborative work of art created and plenty of opportunities to enjoy hot coffee to warm up, a bar for those who wish to warm up in a different way, and lots of snacks and activities to keep the night going."
The idea of Culture Days has been embraced across Canada, and also in Kelowna, although other than this unique gathering, all other city-wide cultural events take place in daylight hours.
"In many ways, this is an homage to the life of many artists, those who work in the late evenings providing entertainment and cultural life to the community," Lantheir-Brun added. "It is the artistic lifestyle."
The Nuit Blanche itself has many "emotional attachments" to people who have experienced it before in other and larger metropolitan cities.
"Here, it is push in a new direction for the cultural centre, this is super-contemporary and we welcome everyone to this free nocturnal arts event," she added.
During the one-night celebration, there will be marionette shows by F.E.M.S., street art artists, an MC, funky disco music from DJ Froggy Stylz, music by Colin Syck, street art by Realm, a fun photo booth with lots of costumes by L.G. Photography and Christine Cloutier, and an artistic collaboration led by Maud Besson.
The night-art festival takes place on Saturday starting at 4 p.m. and going through to the wee hours of 4 a.m.
It is also in celebration of the 35th anniversary of the French Cultural Centre in Kelowna.
The centre welcomes all who are of French descent or association, or simply Francophiles who appreciate the French culture and the diversity within, while promoting an understanding and appreciation of the French language and centuries-old culture.
"Our doors are open, we have an extensive French-language library, we have DVDs and videos, there is a family area and internet access for those who need it," she said.
"We get a fair number of French-Canadians, also people from Haiti, North Africa, other provinces where people may have been brought up in French-Canadian communities."
"We have no language barriers or borders here," Lanthier-Brun added. "We host many events throughout the year, including a Christmas fair market, sugar shack and workshops."
What: Nuit Blanche, a celebration of Culture Week with a nocturnal twist.
When: Saturday, Sept. 28, 9 p.m. - 4 a.m.
Where: French Cultural Centre at Richter Street and Bernard Avenue