Phil Alain’s inspiration for Night of Artists starts with hockey. When it came time to host his first gallery as a fine arts student in the ’90s, he had no idea who to invite. So, he invited his college hockey team.
“They all came, but they walked in, did one quick little walk around, and then said ‘Hey, can we go to the bar now?’ and I really believe that they did enjoy it, but they just didn’t really know what they were supposed to do,” says Alain. “At that point, I decided that I had to take away the fear that some people have of going into galleries and encourage them that it isn’t something to be fearful of.”
Alain founded St. Albert’s Night of Artists in 1997. He set up his artwork in a hall, had live music and provided food and drinks. The goal was to create a fun atmosphere that was less intimidating and serious than a traditional art gallery. The event has grown to a free three-day event starting with an opening night celebration followed by two days where people can enjoy an art walk.
“The room will be full of well over 1,000 pieces of artwork on display and for sale by artists from all over the province,” says Alain. “There’ll be everything from sculptures to paintings to ceramics to just about every type of medium you can imagine, and there is live music all weekend long.”
Some of the participating artists include Igor Postash, Beth Pederson, Oksana Zhelisko, Catherine Stevenson Hockenhull and Josh Harnack. Each day of the event features live music from artists like Carrie Day, John Spearn and Dana Wylie. There will be live paintings by Lewis Lavoie, Denise Lefebvre, Karen Bishop and Jani Galarneau.
“It’s time for us to come back together again,” says Alain. “Artists and musicians have not been able to display their work or have people hear their music for so long. And I think people have been longing for that.”
Night of Artists is from March 18 from 6:30 p.m. to 11 p.m., March 19 from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. and March 20 from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the St. Albert Enjoy Centre. Entry is free or by donation.