Thursday, October 15, 2009

James Street Night of Art set to go Friday night!

Well, the night a lot of people look forward to every year is tomorrow night, Friday, October 16th. It's the fourth annual James Street Night of Art in downtown St. Catharines. This event promises to be the most varied and interesting yet, as the roster of artists representing all media is so broad this year.

I have been to the James Street Night of Art two years in a row now; last year, if I remember correctly, it poured rain constantly, yet the damp weather did not deter people from venturing downtown to the temporary pedestrian mall set up on James Street between King and St. Paul. This year promises to be perhaps a little drier, but much cooler, and I think a winter coat might be in order tomorrow night to keep warm!

No matter; the arts community has proved to be a devoted and hardy lot. They will support the evening no matter the weather, and that is very encouraging indeed. And following the success each month this summer of the Art City event the first Friday evening of each month throughout the downtown core, I imagine a number of first-timers will be out tomorrow night to celebrate the final outdoor event put on by the local arts community through the St. Catharines & Area Arts Council.

Some of the featured visual and media artists include: Jonny Fraser, Beth Gibson, Bev Hogue, Marinko Jareb, Jean Parent and Stephen Remus. Some of the featured performing artists include: Essential Collective Theatre, Niagara Dance Company, Gould String Quartet, Soli Deo Gloria Ballet, Aough Ghaan and The Kempenfelts. Of particular interest to a number of people will be former St. Catharines broadcaster Frank Proctor, with whom I worked when I started at CKTB Radio back in 1981, reading his classic Niagara children's story The Day the Welland Canal Monster Met Santa, which has been newly reprinted this fall. I know I still have a copy of the original edition packed away in my books downstairs somewhere...

All in all, it promises to be another wonderful evening of celebrating the arts and experiencing some new businesses you have perhaps not visited before. Last year, for example, I finally made it into The Fine Grind Cafe for a performance, and I have been an occasional regular ever since. And that is what this melding of art and culture with the downtown business community is really all about, I think: showing they can indeed work hand in hand, sharing space downtown and benefitting each other in the process. Now all we need is you to join us tomorrow night in downtown St. Catharines!

October 15th, 2009.

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