Get your art on at Art & the City III – by guest blogger Joella Gencher

Last year, over 200 people gathered at Art & the City II, at Koko Bar & Restaurant

We wanted this year’s Art & the City Vernissage, set to take place on January 23, 2012 at Velvet Speakeasy, to be awesome.  Our team of volunteers and BIEC staff hmm’d and hahh’d over the perfect location, the right nibbles (cupcakes!) and how to nab fabulous young Jewish artists.  As the venue was to be a chic, mood-lit club, exactly which spotlights to rent to illuminate the artwork on display was of utmost importance.  We talked a lot about lighting, a concern that I actually find ironic.

Why?  Because I don’t really think that we “see” art…I think we experience it.  If you’ve ever been amid great art, concerns about beauty and aesthetic value slip away.  What comes to the foreground is a feeling, an atmosphere, a story or idea that has the power to transform, the ability to stir things up, or calm them down.

Last spring, I interned at an art museum in London, and witnessed art brought into everyday life.  Perhaps my most poignant experience was donning white gloves and joining a group of ten seeing impaired visitors, some with wheelchairs, all accompanied by aids, on a touch tour of priceless sculptures, in a bustling art gallery.  I came away with the belief that art is truly open to everyone; that with the right guidance, art held immeasurable value.

Nix those static, antiquated ideas if you had them, and come to the third edition of the Art & the City Vernissage, a perfect opportunity to add a little more art into your life!  Expose yourself to 20 of the city’s talented young artists in a suave, modern (yet casual) nightspot, worthy of any great night out.  The venue is Velvet Speakeasy, 426 Saint-Gabriel in the Old Port and it promises to deliver the same intimate and approachable atmosphere that has been a staple of the event for the past two years. We’re returning back down to the cobblestoned streets that were the backdrop for the original show held at W Lounge, which saw over 200 guests.  Last year’s exhibition brought the same art thirsty (or just plain thirsty) crew to KOKO Restaurant & Bar for another dazzling soirée.  If you can’t tell your Picasso from your Monet, have no fear; this is one event that has something to offer to those looking for what’s fresh on the Montreal scene, or simply a dose of creativity.

Art enthusiasts enjoy works on display at last year's Art & the City II

The featured artists are young adults from the Montreal Jewish community who have either made art their career, or a passion in which they dabble in their spare time.  This collection of talented individuals range from painters and photographers, to fashion and jewelry designers.  Second-time participant Kenny Stein’s tools of choice are hand-cut stencils and spray paint…but you’d never know it.   Initially he made his mark with non-commissioned street art (for instance, adding the image of the Mona Lisa onto a street sign), but now he prefers to opt for lower risk ventures.  And first-time artist and organizer Sabrina Taran draws her inspiration from people, and thus the two creations she will have on display are portraits; a painting of her siblings and a high-contract charcoal and pencil drawing of an old man that oozes vitality.  Their art is relatable, vivid and sophisticated, and, like their peers, they represent a jewel in our community that is showcased far too rarely.

Add a little spice to your Sunday night, and get out of the cocoon you’ve nestled into to fight off the recent cold spell, because everybody needs a pinch of color and inspiration at this time of year.  Mix, mingle, drink and nibble- and get your art on! 


Art & the City III takes place this Sunday, January 23, 2012, from 7:00pm-10:00pm, at Velvet Speakeasy, 426 Saint-Gabriel. Tickets are 15$ and include one complementary drink.


Posted on January 20, 2012, in Arts and Culture, Community, Montreal, Team BIEC and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

  1. Great blog Joella just read it now but thank you! I wasn’t aware that you were an adept writer and of your experience interning at the London art museum especially with those impaired

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