Nuit Blanche, Toronto’s nightlong celebration of contemporary art and culture, returns to in-person exhibitions on Oct. 1, and Humber College’s Lakeshore Campus is designated to be the event’s first-ever Etobicoke hub.
This designation comes as city officials expand Nuit Blanche beyond Toronto’s downtown core and into the greater Toronto regions.
“Mayor Tory is ensuring that City services and festivals are inclusive of the broader GTA,” writes Melissa Poliah, the program lead for Humber Galleries and Nuit Blanche planning. “And given our Lakeshore expansion with the Humber Cultural Hub, it was a natural fit.”
The Humber Cultural Hub, which is currently under construction at the Lakeshore Campus, aims to make the college an established destination for arts and culture by fostering a new generation of creative leaders with performance halls, innovative learning spaces and community-focused architecture and urban planning, according to the college’s website.
Seventeen art installations will be displayed across the campus featuring the work of independent artists and the college’s fellowship students.
Mercedes Psenicnik, a recent graduate of Humber’s Bachelor of Industrial Design program and 2021 Nuit Blanche fellow, is among the 17 artists whose work will be featured at the Etobicoke site this year.
Psenicnik created her installation Neon Roots, a fallen log sprouting with glowing fungi, to explore the feelings of isolation and growth within a community. Her inspiration for the piece stemmed from a winter stroll at the Lakeshore campus where she came across a fallen log that appeared “dark and dreary” in the cold weather.
“I’ve always been intrigued by the idea that something is very, very hidden from us, but it’s still there and working,” says Psenicnik. “There’s this hidden connection that’s not always seen, or you don’t always appreciate.”
This sparked her interest in nature’s underground networking, where fungi use threads of mycelium to wrap around roots of trees, allowing fungi to communicate and share resources. This discovery, along with her personal experience as a first-generation Canadian Croatian-Venezuelan, shaped the meaning behind her piece.
Neon Roots will be Psenicnik’s second installation at the event. A Way Closer, an installation by Psenicnik and the 2021 Nuit Blanche fellowship team, will also be featured this year.
“It’s always something I’ve really appreciated about Toronto’s culture — going out and just experiencing art, and accessible art for everybody as well,” says Psenicnik. “I’m very, again, grateful, just to be given that opportunity and a space to be able to work on it.”
As Nuit Blanche draws near, Poliah hopes that this event will “put Humber on the map” as an institution that is inclusive and supportive of all forms of art and culture, especially with its range of programs for students in all artistic disciplines.
“Humber is the school that really gives those hands-on opportunities to students.”
Nuit Blanche 2022 will run from sunset on Oct. 1 until sunrise on Oct. 2 with art installations throughout the downtown core, North York, Scarborough, and Etobicoke.
For more information, visit https://www.toronto.ca/explore-enjoy/festivals-events/nuitblanche/.