Toronto’s Nuit Blanche showcases art and sparks conversation through new virtual format

Sponsored feature: The City of Toronto

Clear your schedule on Saturday, October 3 – Nuit Blanche is back.

This year, Toronto’s highly anticipated contemporary art event is shifting to a special digital format to ensure the safety of attendees and artists during the pandemic. The all-night affair has been reimagined and revamped for a unique virtual experience available to the public until October 12.

2020 kicks off the event’s two-year curatorial theme, The Space Between Us.

Artistic director Dr. Julie Nagam has selected art installations and entertainment that focuses on the connections across urban, polar and pacific landscapes. These connections reveal the space between us as a potential site for sharing knowledge.

The insightful and provocative online programming will be available to residents of Toronto from 7 pm onward beginning October 3. Event attendees can expect a variety of virtual entertainment, including podcasts, webinars and more. This year, people are encouraged to tune into the new event’s different installments. Nuit Live will livestream screen-based artworks and archival images, while Nuit in Your Neighbourhood provides attendees with augmented and virtual reality experiences.

Both programs offer audiences the chance to discover new artworks created in the digital realm by more than 40 commissioned artists, right from their own phone, tablet or computer.

“I am thrilled with all the virtual additions and the possibility to create a new adventures, which will allow for ground-breaking creativity and engagement with public art into the future with augmented and virtual reality in your own neighbourhood,”says Dr. Nagam. “Nuit Blanche 2020 might feel and look different but the overall programming endeavours to recreate the feeling of exploring art in public spaces and the excitement of discovery, wonder and awe it brings.”

Like previous years, Nuit Talks remain a highlight of the event. Instead of an in-person experience, the curated discussions will now be 60-minute webinar sessions that tackle relevant social issues.

These discussions are not limited to the October 3 event and will be livestreamed on various dates from mid-September to mid-October. They are available on demand through the Nuit Blanche website. Dr. Nagam will moderate each of the Nuit Talks conversations.

The seven webinars will be hosted through the University of Winnipeg and will feature a diverse mix of key arts leaders and creatives from Canada and abroad. Topics like public space and art, access, opportunity, land, geopolitics and sustainability will all be touched upon.

Highlights include a conversation with Sage Paul, the artistic director of Toronto’s Indigenous Fashion Week, who will be accompanied by four other arts and culture professionals to discuss public engagement. Other Nuit Talks will touch upon outdoor festivals (September 29), community arts and engagement with Alyssa Fearon, the curator and director of the Dunlop Art Gallery alongside four fellow practitioners (October 8), and digital pivoting and the overuse of the screen with Brook Andrew, the artistic director at the Bienniale of Sydney in Australia, joined by four other guests (October 15).

Nuit Talks also features a one-on-one conversation with Mayor  John Tory, who will then be joined by Dr. Nagam to discuss new approaches to public art and some of the changes experienced in communities due to COVID-19.  That talk happens on October 3.

As COVID-19 continues to circulate in the community, residents are reminded to adhere to Toronto Public Health’s advice. This includes staying home when they are ill, washing their hands often, staying within their social bubble of no more than 10 people. Additionally, people should be practising physical distancing with those outside of their social bubble, and wearing a mask where mandatory or when physical distancing cannot be maintained.

To register for one of these candid Nuit Talks, click here. For more information about the upcoming art event Nuit Blanche Online, visit

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