Nocturne will be changing the city of Halifax once again, with art installations scattered all over the city.
Tanya Davis, Halifax’s poet laureate who rose to fame on youtube after her ‘How To Be Alone’ video went viral, is participating in this year’s Nocturne event. She said the event has become a major milestone for local artists.
“I’m doing a poet installation called ‘inside poems,’ which I’m still working on so it’s still in the concept stage,” Davis said. “I’ve also teamed up with another Nocturne project called ‘Ships in the Night’ and they’re doing a sculptural installation of ship-like things on the waterfront and I’ll be inside one of those to show what’s its like to be inside poetry. I’m trying to talk about poetry from a different place rather than having it exclusively in books all of the time.”
Davis has had a project in Nocturne once before a few years ago, but said she was excited to be involved again.
“I love Nocturne and I love to create,” she said. “I think it’s a really fun opportunity for artists to try new work and new ideas. The city and the people who are attending Nocturne are open to lots of new kinds of creativity and I think that’s really freeing for artists and it gives us a lot of room to play with.”
Davis said that Nocturne is important for local artists by injecting funds for projects, which is important in a industry where they are often expected to receive very little return on investment for their work. She said it also exposes artists to a wider audience as it’s a free event.
“It’s intended to create opportunities for artists and make art accessible to everyone and ultimately to help everyone see their city in a different light,” Rose Zack, chair of Nocturne said.
The Nocturne team has worked hard to make the fifth Nocturne the most accessible yet, she said, by providing services to those who have mobility issues, including a chartered bus.
Nocturne will be divided into zones: Downtown Halifax, Halifax Waterfront, North End Halifax/Quinpool, Downtown Dartmouth, and the Spring Garden Road/Universities area.
Although it may be difficult to see everything Nocturne has to offer, there is also an application available made by local developer Mindsea. People can use it to locate exhibits, share photos and interact on social media.
Zack said in their first year they had about 50 projects and now they’re between 85 and 100, with at least 200 artists participating overall. The first year they saw just over 4,000 people attend, but that has quickly grown to over 20,000.
“One thing I often hear about the Nocturne experience is the energy, that is feels like a different place. There’s lots of people, lots to see, a real energy especially in the downtown core that night. I’ve heard people say ‘Halloween for adults.’”
Feeling the financial squeeze
“As we’ve grown in size, as have our needs,” Zack said. “We started out five years ago with support from HRM and a grant from the province, but it was pretty small. Our artists donated their projects that year.”
Zack said it’s hard not to imagine what Nocturne could become if they had more financial support from the municipality. She noted a report that says, compared to similar sized cities, HRM only contributes 10 per cent of the national average to the arts.
“This year it’s almost exclusively local support, it’s great to see local businesses get behind and champion this. Because it’s our fifth year we really wanted to highlight that.”