The night was painted purple as Western’s artists congregated outside of McIntosh Gallery for the fifth annual Nuit Violette.
"Nuit Violette is our campuses take on Nuit Blanche...it's an outdoor art show that showcases student art," described public arts coordinator and fourth-year media information and technoculture student Josette Joseph. (Joseph is also a reporter with WesternTV, the Gazette's video outlet.)
The event began early evening at 5 p.m. in slight disarray. While the art may have been inquisitive and beautiful, for the first hour of the event, they lacked context and without descriptions their messages failed to land with the passing audience. Signs were added later in the night to accompany the pieces in the outdoor maze of art exhibits.
The exhibit fences were donned with string lights. People fluttered from corner to corner, taking photos and discussing the pieces among one another. Laughter elicited at the interactive booths as people found their inner child and finger painted.
Artists from a variety of disciplines and years were showcased speaking on topics like race, culture, stereotypes and feminism. Art forms came in painting and photography, while interactive booths like a ball pit, flower photo wall, paint canvases and string collage enticed audience members to participate.
"We really wanted to make students feel like they were part of the night, and part of the art that unfolded," explained Joseph.
Musicians rotated sets on a portable outdoor stage, drawing in a small crowd to listen to the predominantly acoustic performers that set a warm tone to the otherwise chilly night.
Alongside the outdoor event, the McIntosh Gallery admitted free guests as late as 9 p.m. The gallery has been open since 1942, making it the oldest university art gallery in the province.
Abby Vincent, the communications and outreach coordinator at the gallery hoped "...that students who've never visited us before will take the opportunity to come and check it out tonight."
With an interior of open white rooms, the gallery had two major showcases being presented. Publishing against the Grain produced by Independent Curators International showcased publications from around the world as it examined the state of publishing and art criticism. The second exhibit, Anti Profit: Independent Publishing in London, by Ruth Skinner took a look into the term “low-budget” when it came to artistry by exploring independent arts and literary publishing. Tours of the exhibits were offered to students on a rolling basis throughout the night.
In the basement of the gallery, a zine workshop was offered to students, and art magazines were given away for free to those who held interest.
As the night progressed over 200 people walked through the exhibits. People played in the ball pit and painted on the communal canvases, leaving their artistic mark behind in a stand of solidarity with the artists.
Apple cider and hot chocolate was provided throughout the night, and as the event drew to an end purple lights shone on the artists and performers until closing at 10 p.m.