By Chris Illich
On September 24 the Niagara Falls History Museum is hosting a one night spectacle for lovers of all forms of art. From 6-10pm, the Museum will be hosting the Niagara Falls Night of Art, comprising of several installations, spoken word, art displays, hands-on art, a variety musical guests and a bike parade that will be sure to entertain guests for the four-hour event.
The Niagara Falls Night of Art (NFNA) has been hosting the event for three years, and for residents of St. Catharines, fond recollections of it’s precursor, the James St. Night of Art, suggest that the event will be worthy of attending.
“We’re just looking to get people back into this neighbourhood again,” said Clark Bernat, Cultural Museum Manager for the City of Niagara Falls. “That’s why we built this new museum here on Ferry St. three years ago. We’re trying to get people in this area and trying to create some visibility to the area and hopefully make it a little less scary as well.”
After graduating with an Undergrad in History at Brock University and completing a Masters Degree in Museum studies, Bernat worked in various locations around Ontario, most notably at the Historical Museum in Niagara on the Lake for a period of nine years.
“I came to this museum (Niagara Falls History Museum) when it was a hole in the ground. I saw us through the construction of this building and the interpretation of the galleries,” he explained.
“And this event just has such great atmospheres, vibes, and energy – it’s just about people having a good time out on a Thursday night, enjoying art in its various forms. What we’ve done here is created a family friendly atmosphere that is very welcoming, open and not elitist.”
Performances throughout the night include a selection of musicians curated by Mystage, comprising of C.D. Onofrio, Leonard, Burns and Dell, Joe Lapinski, Whitney Pea, Thunderclap, Firehall Theatre and the Flying Hammer Brothers.
In addition to these acts, there will be additional entertainment by the Trio Corn Brio, the Treblaires and Juice Willis Entertainment. Aaron Thompson, Emily Andrews, Paul Chartrand and Brainkite created the featured installations for the night.
Brainkite, an artist collective based out of Niagara Falls have created a pair of installations for the event. The first being a bi-monthly collaborative effort with the community where they had guests come and paint paint-sticks which will be erected into a sculpture that will stand approximately 20 feet high in the lobby of the Museum.
“It will be our interpretation of Niagara Falls, and it will coincide with the existing gallery exhibit, which is about portraits of Niagara Falls,” said Adam Buller of Brainkite and the one-man show Thunderclap (who will also be performing at the NFNA).
The second installation is the aforementioned bike parade.
Buller explained that the bike parade will do a 30 minute run around Niagara Falls, on the hour, every hour, until the event begins in at 6pm. From there, the bike parade will help create a freewheeling mood, as it circles around the series of parking lots that will comprise the ‘fairgrounds’ every half hour for five minutes throughout the night.
“The bike parade came to be because when you think about it, who do you know who has made a sculpture on a bike? I don’t know anyone, and I have never seen anything like that in person,” said Buller.
“We just wanted to do it because it sounds really fun. But the NFNA is really great and we think that events like that are so few and far between here in Niagara Falls.”